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  1. ‘Drug Free’ ASEAN by 2015?

    08 August 2015
    In the media

    The Diplomat - There is a growing consensus within the region that the war on drugs has failed.

  2. More U.N. states quietly say no to drug war

    06 December 2013
    Article

    An internal United Nations draft document leaked last weekend has offered outsiders a rare look at longstanding disagreements between member states over the course of U.N. drug policy. The document, first publicised by The Guardian and obtained by IPS, contains over 100 specific policy recommendations and proposals from member states, many at odds with the status quo on illicit drug eradication and prohibition.

  3. Political Declaration already ridiculed

    Transnational Institute
    08 March 2009
    Article

    News about the disappointing content of the Political Declaration to be adopted at the High Level Segment of the 52nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) next week in Vienna is filtering to the outside media. Meanwhile, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is gearing up to claim success for the failing international drug control system.

  4. Refreshing Costa's memory

    Tom Blickman
    08 June 2008
    Article

    Today, June 8, it is 10 years ago that the world leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. "A drug free world – We can do it!", was the slogan under which they met. Ten years later, Mr. Costa, the current director of the UNODC seems to deny that the UN ever used the phrase. Let us refresh Mr. Costa’s memory.

  5. Vienna Consensus on Drug Policy Cracks

    Tom Blickman
    07 April 2009
    Article

    A clear divide in drug control approaches became apparent at the end of the High Level Segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on March 11-12 in Vienna, where countries gathered to review to progress since the 1998 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) and set a framework for the next 10 years through a Political Declaration and Plan of Action.

    At one side of the divide a growing number of countries opt for pragmatic evidence-based harm reduction policies, while at the other side countries desperately cling to a zero tolerance approach that has failed to produce any significant result the past decade. Despite the diplomatic façade, the conclusion cannot be otherwise that the Vienna consensus on drug control that has paralysed progress in international drug control for decades, has fallen apart. 

  6. The Cannabis Debate: Polak vs Costa

    Tom Blickman
    27 May 2008
    Article

    Antonio Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Frederick Polak, a Dutch psychiatrist have been engaged in an interesting (and worldwide) debate about Dutch cannabis policy. Polak challenges Costa to answer the question why cannabis use in the Netherlands is lower than in many neighbouring countries despite the free availability of cannabis in coffee shops for adults over 18 years. After a recent visit to Amsterdam, Costa is claiming that cannabis use in that city is three times higher than anywhere else in Europe. Is this true?

  7. UNGASS ten years on

    01 March 2008
    Article

    Weaknesses in the United Nations drug control system have often been identified, related to the functioning of the key organs – the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) –, related to collaboration with the wider UN system – the World Health Organistaion (WHO), UNAIDS, UN Development Programme (UNDP), etc. – and related to the outdated character of several treaty provisions.

  8. World anti-drugs day: mixed feelings

    Martin Jelsma
    26 June 2008
    Article

    Today, June 26, is the official UN International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. At the TNI Drugs & Democracy programme we have always found it a difficult day to deal with, full of mixed emotions. Too often the day has been desecrated by countries eager to highlight their toughest anti-drug actions. That includes each year a high number of executions in China especially saved up for June 26th. Killing drug law offenders to celebrate a UN day, in spite of the General Assembly adopting last year a resolution opposing the death penalty.

  9. Missing document

    Tom Blickman
    26 March 2008
    Article

    As we noted previously, Mr. Costa opening speech included some remarkably positive - and in the context of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs - sometimes daring statements. His remarks were further elaborated in a so-called Conference Room Paper (CRP) that was distributed at the CND. However, that paper is nowhere to be found on the UNODC website. But you can find it on the Transform blogspot.

  10. Not so silent partners

    Tom Blickman
    17 March 2008
    Article

    In his speech to the NGO forum at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on Wednesday 12 March, Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), emphasized that he doesn’t need NGOs as "silent partners" and called for challenging his views. However, when someone did challenge him he refused to answer the question.

  11. War Without End

    Tom Blickman
    07 June 2008
    In the media

    An extraordinary documentary marking a new level in broadcast journalism critiquing the international war on drugs was shown on Irish TV last on 3 June 2008. The report is a comprehensive indictment of the global drug war and asks if there is an alternative to this war without end.

  12. Opium harvest in early 2019 in Pekhon Township, southern Shan State (TNI)

    A Distortion of Reality: Drugs, Conflict and the UNODC’s 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    05 March 2019
    Article

    The recently-released “Myanmar Opium Survey 2018” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) entails specific accusations against several of the conflict actors. This commentary explains how this further distorts, rather than reflects, the complex realities in Myanmar.

  13. Costa in Amsterdam

    Tom Blickman
    02 June 2008
    Article

    The head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Costa, recently visited Amsterdam on 24 April. Accompanied by some officials of the Netherlands Ministry of Health and of the City of Amsterdam and UNODC staff, he dropped in on the coffeeshop De Dampkring (the Atmosphere) and a user room (for inhalation and injection of heroin and cocaine). He wrote his personal account for his blog Costa’s corner but it was never published. Apparently it proved to be too controversial with his Dutch host. It now has popped up on the Transform drug policy blog and the ENCOD website.

  14. Cannabis resolutions at the 2008 CND

    29 March 2008

    At the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2008 in Vienna three resolutions on cannabis were tabled. They were all clearly against 'lenient policies'  in some countries depenalising or decriminalizing the use of cannabis. One of the resolutions called for the criminalization of drug abuse that would have significantly expanded the UN drug conven­tions. 

  15. New Possibilities for Change in International Drug Control

    • Drugs and Democracy
    01 December 2001

    The main task of the new executive director of the ODCCP would be to guide a process of internal reform that the UNDCP has to undergo and open up to challenging views outside the agency.

  16. Beyond 2008 video

    23 July 2008
    Multi-media

    From 7-9 July, 2008, 300 delegates met in Vienna for the Beyond 2008 NGO Forum meant to provide civil society input for the 10-year UNGASS review. The goal was to produce a consensus statement on behalf of the global civil society to the high level governmental meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), to be held in Vienna in March 2009. The Hungarian Civil Liberty Union (HCLU) produced a 10 minute video interviewing the participants.

  17. domino

    INCB vs Uruguay: the art of diplomacy

    Martin Jelsma
    17 December 2013
    Article

    International tensions over Uruguay’s decision to regulate the cannabis market reached new levels when Raymond Yans, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), accused Uruguay of negligence with regard to public health concerns, deliberately blocking dialogue attempts and having a "pirate attitude" towards the UN conventions. President Mujica reacted angrily, declaring that someone should "tell that guy to stop lying," while Milton Romani, ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), said that Yans "should consider resigning because this is not how you treat sovereign states."

  18. Beyond 2008: Final Declaration and Resolutions

    23 July 2008
    Article

    The "Beyond 2008" NGO Forum was held in Vienna, Austria from July 7-9, 2008.  It was the final step in the global consultation of NGOs involved in responding to drug related problems and to provide civil society input for the 10-year UNGASS review.
    Three draft resolutions and the draft declaration were subject to a line by line examination and intense debate. At the end of the Forum the Declaration and three Resolutions were adopted by consensus by all those participating in the Forum.  This was an historic achievement and reflected the maturity and commitment of the global NGO community. 

  19. UNODC Executive Director releases "contributions" ahead of CND High-Level Segment on drugs

    19 January 2014
    Article

    Ahead of the High-Level Segment on the world drug problem to take place on 13th and 14th January 2014, the UNODC Executive Director, Yuri Fedotov, has released his "contributions" to the debate. This 19-page document is, in parts, refreshingly honest about the “unequal” progress that has been made since 2009 (with reductions in supply or demand for some drugs in some places being offset by increases elsewhere), the setbacks and new challenges, and the fact that “the overall magnitude of drug demand has not substantially changed at the global level”.

  20. UNGASS 2016: Watershed event or wasted opportunity?

    Martin Jelsma
    12 April 2016
    Article

    The outcome of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was a disappointing compromise, based on a non-inclusive process and one that fails to reflect the fractured global consensus on drug policy.

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