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    A Lost Opportunity

    • Martin Jelsma
    15 June 1998

    United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS)
    New York, 8-10 June 1998

    The "United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem" held from 8 to 10 June in New York, did not bring any surprises. The drug summit adopted a global strategy to reduce illicit drug supply and demand by 2008. In the General Assembly room, it was an uninterrupted three day sequence of political speeches. All countries could give their own emphasis to the agenda items and present in seven minutes their own more general view on the drugs issue and their policies to deal with it. But, all in all, it has been a lost opportunity, no evaluation of current drug policies took place whatsoever, it was devoted to (as a New York Times editorial phrased it) "recycling unrealistic pledges". 

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    The Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme

    • Cindy S.J. Fazey
    01 April 2003

    publicationMeetings of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) are no forum for debate and change. The author, a former senior officer of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), shows how CND meetings are manipulated in the interests of 17 developed countries that largely fund UNDCP – the CND’s ‘civil service’. However, these major donors are not united on policy or on how to apply the UN drug Conventions, so CND decisions reflect the lowest level of disagreement, with major splits on policy ignored.

    application-pdfDownload the publication (PDF)

  3. The 2007 Commission on Narcotic Drugs

    16 March 2007 - Event

    The 50th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was the last such event before the watershed year of 2008, when the international community will review progress against the objectives set at the General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), held in New York in 1998. This CND was notable for a significant improvement in civil society involvement in the proceedings – there were a record 81 civil society delegates and NGO representatives included in government delegations. On the other hand, there were repeated moves by some country delegations to marginalise NGO involvement. The global consultation with NGOs to feed in to the UNGASS review process as formally launched.

     

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    UN: conflicting views on harm reduction

    18 February 2008
    Article

    Conflicting views and policies within the UN system on harm reduction have become a major concern. Consistency in messages is crucial especially where it concerns joint global programmes such as the efforts to slow down the HIV/AIDS epidemic; efforts in which harm reduction practices like needle exchange and substitution treatment play a pivotal role. 

  5. UNGASS review 2008-2009

    21 February 2008
    Article

    The 50th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), held in Vienna from 12-16 March 2007 was the last such event before the watershed year of 2008, when the international community will review progress against the objectives set at the General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), held in New York in 1998. The key decision that had to be taken at the 2007 CND was the timing and procedure for the UNGASS review.

  6. SCOPE: Strategy for Coca and Opium Poppy Elimination

    24 February 2008
    Article

    UNDCPs 1998 plan to eradicate the cultivation of both coca and opium poppy by the year 2008 was a rare opportunity to re-think current drugs efforts. Member states were asked to endorse a plan, known as SCOPE, for the eradication of drugs-linked crops by 2008. Is SCOPE viable? And what impact would it have on poor farmers who grow drugs-linked crops to survive? 

     

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    International AIDS Society calls for Harm Reduction

    25 February 2008
    Article

    25 February 2009

    The International AIDS Society (IAS) wrote a letter to the Chair of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) to express concern about the absence of language on harm reduction in the draft outcome documents to be adopted by the 52nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2009.

    The International AIDS Society is world’s leading independent association of HIV professionals with over 11,000 members from 183 countries; and the custodian of the International AIDS Conference to be held in Vienna in 2010.

  8. 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.

  9. Civil Society Events at 2008 CND

    02 March 2008
    Article

    NGOs of different background organise events during the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2008. Some of the main events are listed here.

  10. Statement about the coca leaf

    11 March 2008
    Declaration

    Statement in support of the Bolivian announcement to ask for the un-scheduling of the coca leaf from the list controlled substances of the 1961 UN Single Convention.

    Transnational Institute / International Drug Policy Consortium (IDCP)

    March 12, 2008

     

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    Statements at 2008 CND

    17 March 2008
    Article

    Several government and UN officials as well as civil society organisations made interesting statements at the 51st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on March 10-14, 2008.

  12. 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.

  13. The 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs

    13 April 2008 - Event

    The 51st Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was designated as the point at which the international community would debate the progress made in the 10 years since the Political Declaration of the 1998 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS). The 1998 UNGASS called for the eradication or significant reduction of the cultivation, supply and demand of illicit drugs. Few governments acknowledged the real policy dilemmas arising from the failure to achieve these reductions, or came forward with proposals on how the international drug control system could be improved. One of the most debated issues was a resolution on human rights and international drug control introduced by Uruguay.

     

  14. The current state of drug policy debate

    09 June 2008
    Article

    Martin Jelsma, from the Transnational Institute, prepared an analysis for the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, explaining the drug policy situation in the European Union and the current state of debate in the United Nations agenda. The commission is an initiative born of former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from Brazil, César Gaviria, from Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo, from Mexico, to respond to concerns related to the problems of drug consumption and traffic in Latin America. The idea to constitute a commission capable of consolidating a debate concerning this problematic also responds to the necessity of reviewing the world drug policies in the scope of the United Nations, which began in March 2008.

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    UNGASS review reaches critical stage

    03 November 2008
    Article

    The review of the objectives and action plans agreed at the 1998 UNGASS on Drugs has reached a critical stage. Following the thematic debate at the 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and the five expert working groups held in Vienna over the summer, the attention now moves to the political process of negotiating the text of a political declaration to be agreed at the high level meeting in March 2009.

  16. International Support for Harm Reduction

    20 January 2009

    A useful overview of UN endorsement of harm reduction measures; the legality of harm reduction services under the Drug Conventions; the obligation in human rights law to ensure access to harm reduction services and the global state of harm reduction, listing 82 countries and territories worldwide that presently support or tolerate harm reduction.

     

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    UN Human Rights Experts Contribute to UNGASS Review

    20 January 2009
    Article

    December 2008

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – Professor Manfred Nowak – and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – Mr Anand Grover – have written to the Chairperson of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to “offer guidance” regarding human rights issues that have arisen during the UN’s ten-year drug strategy review.

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    The Battle for Harm Reduction

    Tom Blickman
    21 January 2009
    Article

    The issue of harm reduction continues to be controversial during the negotiations in Vienna for the Political Declaration that has to be adopted in March 2009 at the High Level Segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). There is severe pressure on delegates to drop their insistence on incorporating the language and principles of harm reduction in the political declaration, or to accept some watered down version.

  19. Lifting the Ban on Harm Reduction

    Tom Blickman
    21 January 2009
    Article

    The Obama White House announced today that the new President supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of HIV/AIDS infection among drug users. Will he also lift the ban on the concept of harm reduction, which has paralysed the international drug policy debate under his predecessors?

  20. Harm reduction as part of the solution

    Tom Blickman
    23 January 2009
    Article

    It is still not clear what the drug policy of President Obama will be. He has not appointed his drug czar. Many high-ranking Bush Administration officials have yet to leave office and are still setting the agenda on drug policy.
     

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