Side Event: Bridging the Gaps between Crime and Development Perspectives in Drug Policy: The Drugs & Development Hub

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UNODC AD (stand-in): WDP and Sustainable Development: a complex relationship – responses impact each other. We cannot look at these areas out of context. Drug use undermines goal 5 (gender equality) – women take more pharmaceutical medications and men are more into drugs like cocaine and heroin. Clear lack of services for women. Women might be a minority but they still need services. Drug use impact people in the most important time of their lives when they are supposed to be employed and a productive member of society. The drug relationship to goal 1 (no poverty) is most apparent in relations to illicit cultivation. Higher socioeconomic have a greater propensity to initiate in drug use but the problem is among those on the lower levels of the socioeconomic layers. Vicious circle of illicit drug production. The impact of income on drug use depends on the type of drug. Globally, there is no clear-cut relationship between drug supply and violence. Goal 15 (life on land) there is a relationship between the drug problem and the environment. Goal 16 (peace), Goal 17 (partnerships) I have no time to explain these in detail.

Drugs and Development Hub (Dr. John Collins): Traditionally, the drugs development hub has been set up to build a bridge between civil society, UN, governments, etc to have a discussion together. What brings all stakeholders together is the need to demolish these silos that exist as development, drug control – the link between them are often overlooked. To achieve the SDGs, we need to have drug policies grounded in sustainable development. To have effective drug policies, we need to recognize the role of SDGs. We have been working together with UNODC and a number of partners, academic, agency […] and we’ve launched a journal. I am going to show you a promo video now.

Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (Ian Tennant): We were founded in 2013, now we have over 55 staff and a HQ in Geneva with offices in Cape Town, Malta, Vienna and some more. Our key functions are research, promoting engagement and advocacy, develop field-based programmes. We are happy to be partners to the Drugs and Development Hub. Our particular contribution is to use the local civil society voices and bring them in contact with academia – community resilience is key in the fight against crime. GI-TOC: Connecting the local and the global, sometimes the negotiations in conference rooms are far removed from what is happening on the ground. Debates are sometimes artificially siloed across drugs and crime so we aim to bring the community voices to the table here. We are also bringing people together who might not have a chance to meet through grants – they are then able to share practices and improve national policy debates. What does community resilience mean? Where the rule of law is undermined, violence is pervasive, there is criminal violence and the state is not able or willing to provide basic security; we have seen community leaders demonstrating incredible skill and capacity to respond to and recover from the impacts of organized crime. We are supporting activists, groups (church groups, communities, women’s’ rights groups), journalists. We are an incubator fund with a 3-stage model: 1 identify, 2 incubate (capacity building, networking), 3 replicate. We have 25 different projects around the World. Thanks to the Drugs and Development Hub for our collaboration.

Audience (Permanent Mission of Austria): What are some specific challenges in bringing communities together?

Audience (NGO Alliance): NGO Alliance is working on similar objectives of bringing civil society together across these fields.

Audience: How is this different than any other initiative before? We have talked at length about breaking barriers before.

Dr. Collins: Greater coherence in urban drug policies and development. The institutional mechanisms are not geared towards seeing these as aligned. This is one of our focuses and we are trying to bring everyone along with us. Thank you for the comment on civil society engagement. This is not an entirely new discussion but the value added here is the partners, a strong collaboration with UN agencies. When projects are led by UN agencies not many have the chance to take part so we make sure those bridges are built between agencies and communities.

Ian Tennant: The barriers are long standing and institutional. The commissions meet at different times, the missions are often separate. CND is a good example of how some of those barriers have been broken down since UNGASS. There are more collab between Geneva-based agencies and Vienna. The CSO community has become better coordinated as well. The silos don’t seem to be breakable from within the institutions so it is very important.

UNODC (Kristina Kangaspunta): Community resilience is an interesting topic. The criticism has been putting pressure on individuals, how do you think this is addressed? There are structural obstacles to be able to be resilient.

Ian Tennant: It is an important question that we address through the design of the fund.

UNODC (Kristina Kangaspunta): Thank you and thank you all for coming to our event so early on Friday. Have a nice day!

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