It is essential to reinforcecivil society participation to the UNGASS preparatory process
After years of preparation, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) will finally be held on 21 April 2016 in New York City. The session will last only three days. However, the preparation process has been long, requiring a great effort to reach consensus. As members of civil society, we have had to strengthen our presence at meetings of international organizations and by participating in surveys to ensure that civil society positions are included.
Milestones of Dianova’s contribution
- Attending and presenting good practices at the Informal Civil Society Hearing. Making a presentation at the panel discussion on experience in the Americas: “Women with children: added values to in-home treatment.” The hearing was organized by the VNGOC to strengthen the position of the civil society platform, especially with regard to the UNGASS.(New York, October 2014).
- Attending the XVIIth seminar “Drugs and Cooperation” organized by the Ibero-American Network of NGOs working in the field of drug dependence (RIOD). Dianova International attended a panel debate that discussed the work of civil society during the preparation phase for the UNGASS 2016 (Cordoba, April 2014).
- Attending the “High-level thematic debate on drugs” that was part of the UNGASS preparation process and participating in the 5th Informal Civil Society Hearing. Presenting good practices and reflecting the development of Dianova Nicaragua, “a basic organization that meets the needs of its environment”(New York, May 2015).
- Publishing Dianova’s position on drug addiction and drug policy (26 June 2015). For the upcoming UNGASS session, the document analyzes the different regulatory options for the drug market, from prohibition to the legalization of psychoactive substances, and the international context in which current policies are developed.In addition, recommendations are included for more humane and more effective drug policies in the future, in the light of new trends and challenges.
- Participating in the civil society survey: ensuring and structuring the civil society debate at the coming UNGASS 2016](July 2015). The survey results will be key for UNGASS since they will provide an overall vision of the work being accomplished by active NGOs in the field of drugs, areas of specialization, priorities and key concerns that need attention, as well as good practices.
- Organizing a Consultation Forum on the UNGASS in the European Parliament. Dianova International presented the process used by the organizations in the Dianova network for updating their institutional position on drug addiction and drug policy as an institutional contribution to the UNGASS (Brussels, September 2015).
- Participating in a Informal Interactive consultation at the UN with civil society representatives and other interested parties. María de los Ángeles Lobo. the representative of Dianova Chile, was selected from among hundreds of candidates to raise the voice of civil society before the President of the United Nations General Assembly. The conclusions reached at the meeting are part of the CND59 [Commission on Narcotic Drugs] official documentation (New York, February 2016).
- Sending a written declaration and organizing an event on “Women, Drugs and Development,” held in parallel with the 60th session of the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women],and sharing a number of thoughts and recommendations for the UNGASS (New York, March 2016).
In addition, Dianova attended UNGASS preparation meetings, such as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) at its annual meetings (CND57, CND58 and CND59), as well as between sessions, when the format, content and final UNGASS document were discussed.
Dianova also attended forums held by the Organization of American States on the UNGASS. We participated in the 57th meeting of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), where information was provided and opinions exchanged on how to create synergies in the hemisphere for the UNGASS (Washington, May 2015).
Also, over the past few years, Dianova has been working to support the UNGASS preparation process through NGO platforms and other work groups at the level of the UN and the EU, such as the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) and the Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSF).
Among other activities at the VNGOC, Dianova was in charge of establishing the Civil Society Task Force, a group in charge of designing and implementing the civil society survey for the UNGASS.
We are members of a group in the CSF called “Institutional relations with the European Union and international organizations,” in which we focused on contributing to the EU position on the UNGASS.
Finally, as for communication, Dianova has made an effort to publish UNGASS-related content to encourage civil society’s involvement in the preparation process and to publicize the subject areas that will be covered at the special session.