We must leave the ideological debates behind us and start focusing on the needs of people and the development of communities
Barcelona, 18th April, 2016 – The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem (UNGASS) is taking place in New York between 19 and 21 April 2016. For heads of States and Governments, it will be a unique opportunity to honestly assess the successes and failures of the global drug policies implemented over the past 50 years.
The deliberations of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna have already produced an outcome document for UNGASS which includes positive references to public health and human rights; however it has yet to define solutions to uphold these fundamental principles and address the numerous challenges that exist in international drug control.
“As members of civil society, we believe in a balanced public health and public safety approach to drug policies. We believe that it can be done only by laying the foundations for a global drug control system that puts peoples’ lives and dignity first. We must leave the ideological debates behind us and start focusing on the needs of people and the development of communities”
Ms. Montse Rafel, Executive Director of Dianova International.
These aspirations are fundamental to achieve real progress in this field; however they will not be met without:
- Bringing the criminalization and incarceration of drug users to an end;
- Giving countries more flexibility to experiment with innovative, health-oriented approaches;
- Promoting evidence-based, alternative prevention and treatment measures capable of answering each person’s specific needs;
- Promoting universal access to essential medicines at an affordable price, including medications for pain;
- Focusing on reducing the power of criminal organizations and the violence, corruption and insecurity that result from their activities;
- Ensuring that civil society representatives and other stakeholders can actively participate in future international meetings on drugs and drug policies.
Dianova & UNGASS
Alongside many NGOs and other stakeholders, Dianova Internationalhas been engaged in the preparatory process of UNGASS at the international level through various initiatives:
- Publication of our position on drug policies and addictionin June 2015,
- Organization of a consultation forum about UNGASS at the European Parliament (Sept. 2015),
- Participation in an informal interactive consultation at the UN with civil society representatives and other stakeholders (New York, Feb. 2016).
In addition, Dianova has been working in support of the preparatory process towards UNGASS through NGOs platforms and working groups at the UN and EU level, such as the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) and the Civil Society Forum on Drugs(CSF).