The meeting is hosted by the Orthodox Academy in Kolymbari (Crete). The thirty participants include ministerial officials from several countries, representatives from UN and European institutions, and non-governmental drug policy experts.
« Un autre monde est possible » : c’est le slogan qui résume toute l’espérance du mouvement altermondialiste. Mais à quelles conditions ce monde pourra-t-il advenir ? En étudiant ces « si... », Susan George s’adresse aussi bien aux citoyens qui se sont déjà engagés dans la lutte pour une justice globale qu’à ceux qui hésitent encore à la rejoindre, ou aspirent seulement à mieux connaître ce phénomène social radicalement nouveau.
Drug consumption rooms have been established in several countries, where confirmed drug users are allowed to consume their drugs in hygienic conditions and without fear of arrest. These facilities, which mostly operate in big cities, emerged because of serious health and public order problems associated with drug use, especially drug injecting in public places. In 2004, there were about 60 consumption rooms in 36 European cities and two pilot projects of medically supervised injecting centres in Australia and Canada.
Numerous UN conferences and summits have been devoted to negotiating a harmonized global approach to illicit drugs. Yet more and more cracks are beginning to appear in the supposedly universal model which is based on a highly fragile consensus. The failure to counter the ever-growing problems related to the use of illicit drugs has led countries to question current policies and to experiment with approaches less driven by the US-inspired ideology of "zero tolerance" and more rooted in pragmatism. This has led to increasing acceptance of the concept of harm reduction for consumers, where drug use is treated as a public health rather than a law enforcement problem. On the production side, discussion centers on the need to secure alternative livelihoods for involved farmer communities and how to most effectively promote alternative development.
Originally developed to reduce drug trafficking, national and international efforts to reduce money laundering have broadened over the years to address other crimes, and most recently, terrorism. These efforts now constitute a formidable regime applied to financial institutions and transactions throughout much of the world. Yet few assessments of either the achievements or consequences of this regime have been made.
The conventions do not contain, refer to or define “harm reduction”. The three conventions refer to measures against drug abuse. Article 38 of the 1961 Convention refers to the need for a State to take measures for the prevention of drug abuse and for the early identification, treatment, aftercare, rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug abusers. Article 14 of the 1988 Convention requires parties to adopt appropriate measures aimed at eliminating or reducing illicit demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, with a view to reducing human suffering. The ultimate aim of the conventions is to reduce harm.