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111 items
  1. Scheduling in the international drug control system

    • David Bewley-Taylor, Martin Jelsma, Christopher Hallam
    16 June 2014
    Policy briefing

    Scheduling is mostly prioritised in its repressive pole, though present debates are increasingly highlighting the need to modify the balance of the system in order to affirm the importance of the principle of health.

  2. Prospects for Treaty Reform and UN Coherence on Drug Policy

    • Martin Jelsma
    01 May 2015
    Policy briefing

    Can UNGASS 2016 realistically initiate a process of modernizing the global drug control system and breathe oxygen into a system risking asphyxiation?

  3. The Current State of Counternarcotics Policy and Drug Reform Debates in Myanmar

    • Tom Kramer
    01 May 2015
    Report

    Are Myanmar's current drug policies effective? How do they impact important issues such as human rights, sustainable development, ethnic conflict, and the peace process?

  4. Fact Sheet: Coca leaf and the UN Drugs Conventions

    02 October 2012
    Primer

    10 Facts about the Coca leaf and the UN Drugs Conventions in chronological order

             
  5. The International Drug Control Regime and Access to Controlled Medicines

    • Christopher Hallam
    28 December 2014
    Policy briefing

    In poor and developing nations pain remains largely uncontrolled. Africa is the least well served continent for access to analgesia.

  6. Fatal Attraction: Brownfield's Flexibility Doctrine and Global Drug Policy Reform

    David Bewley-Taylor, Martin Jelsma, Damon Barrett
    19 November 2014
    Article

    State-level cannabis reforms have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system. It is calls for a conversation the US federal government wishes to avoid. The result is a new official position on the UN drugs treaties that, despite its seductively progressive tone, serves only to sustain the status quo and may cause damage beyond drug policy.

  7. The 2016 UNGASS: Challenges and Opportunities

    09 March 2015
    Article

    The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs is fast approaching 2016 and is an important opportunity to conduct a thorough and objective assessment of the international drug control system. This session will discuss remaining challenges, as well as opportunities for the way forward – in particular towards rebalancing current drug policies towards the core UN values of public health, human rights and development

  8. International Law and Drug Policy Reform

    16 July 2015

    Drug policy reform is currently higher on the international agenda than it has been in recent memory. With a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs set for 19-21 April 2016, the prominence of this issue will further increase. Significant legal and policy reforms at the national level have taken place in recent years that pose considerable challenges to the international legal framework for drug control, and beg important questions regarding states’ international legal obligations.

  9. Preparing for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem

    22 July 2015 - Event

    What are the key points of debate for UNGASS? What are the possible outcomes? How can we prepare for this important event?

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    Alternative development: an introduction

    01 March 2003

    Alternative Development programmes, aimed at encouraging peasants to switch from growing illicit drugs-related crops, play an important role in UN drug control strategies. The record of success, however, is a questionable one. Decades of efforts to reduce global drug supply using a combination of developmental and repressive means, managed to shift production from one country to another, but have failed in terms of global impact.

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    How can Reform be Achieved?

    • Martin Jelsma
    27 March 2002

    hans_brinkerAllow countries and regions more space for policy reform using and stretching the margins of the conventions. Strengthen alliances of like-minded nations to support one another and effectively coordinate efforts at the UN level through informal consultations and strategy meetings. Any crack in the global prohibition regime would not plunge the world into chaos immediately. We should not press for a new global straitjacket but for a model that respects cultural differences. We have to open up the debate about the wisdom of the conventions as they stand.

     

  12. International Drug Policy: Animated Report 2009

    05 March 2009

    Produced by an Oscar-winning studio for the Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Institute, International Drug Policy: Animated Report 2009 highlights some of the disastrous effects of drug policy in recent years and proposes solutions for a way forward.

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    Coherence Not Denial

    09 March 2009

    As the international community finalises the Political Declaration and work plan that will guide the next ten years of international drug policy, it is inconceivable and indeed unconscionable that support for scientifically proven, evidence-based harm reduction programmes will again be blocked. States must show responsible leadership and act in the best interests of public health and human rights, rather than the narrow and failed language of ‘a drug free world’. This issue is much bigger than ideology, semantics and intergovernmental wordplay. It is about saving lives.

     

  14. Alternative development should be unconditional

    • Martin Jelsma
    12 March 2009

    Martin Jelsma of TNI expressed the disappointment with the agreed texts on alternative development in the Political Declaration and Plan of Action at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) dedicated to the 1998 UNGASS review. No consensus could be reached on the issue of drug control conditionality in development assistance, despite the outcomes of expert evaluations that recommended to "not make development assistance conditional on reductions in illicit drug crop cultivation”, and to "ensure that eradication is not undertaken until small-farmer households have adopted viable and sustainable livelihoods and that interventions are properly sequenced."

    He further referred to the outcomes of the first World Forum of farmers of coca, cannabis and opium poppy from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

    Read the full statement (PDF)

  15. Global Illicit Drug Markets 1998-2007

    • Peter Reuter (RAND), Franz Trautmann (Trimbos Institute) (eds.)
    15 March 2009
    Report

    This report commissioned by the European Commission, found no evidence that the global drug problem has been reduced during the period from 1998 to 2007 – the primary target of the 1998 UNGASS, which aimed to significantly reduce the global illicit drugs problem by 2008 through international cooperation and measures in the field of drug supply and drug demand reduction. Broadly speaking the situation has improved a little in some of the richer countries, while for others it worsened, and for some of those it worsened sharply and substantially', among which are a few large developing or transitional countries. Given the limitations of the data, a fair judgment is that the problem became somewhat more severe.

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    Global Trends. Lessons from Vienna

    • Martin Jelsma
    20 June 2003

    martin-jelsmaMartin Jelsma analysed the 2003 UNGASS mid-term review and drew some important conclusions for the 10-year review in 2008: "Alliances have to be constructed rooted in pragmatic approaches and in solidarity with the victims of this War on Drugs on both sides of the spectrum, be they in the North or in the South, consumers or producers. The concepts of ‘co-responsibility’ and a ‘balanced approach’ between demand and supply sides have to be redefined. Only if such a coalition of like-minded countries could be brought together, and act in a coordinated manner to explore more pragmatica drug policies for both the demand and the supply sides, the UN level might become a useful forum. Only then, a stronger political alliance can enforce a more open-minded debate about current anti-drug strategies and challenge the US hegemony and discourse in this field."


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    Change of Course

    • Martin Jelsma
    01 March 2003

    By 1998, when the United Nations convened a special General Assembly on drugs, there was already overwhelming evidence that the current approach to global drugs control had failed miserably, given the continuing rise in consumption and production. However, the evidence was ignored and no evaluation of what was wrong with current drug policy took place. Instead, as a New York Times editorial noted, unrealistic pledges were recycled, this time aiming at eliminating all drug production by the year 2008. In mid-April this year, the mid-term review of the goals and targets set by the special session on drugs is to take place in Vienna.

    Download the report (PDF)

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    Drugs in the UN system

    • Martin Jelsma
    01 April 2003

    The "international community" presented an apparent unanimity in its endorsement of prohibitive drug control at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in 1998. The reality is that there is a longstanding conflict within the UN system between nations wanting to maintain the prohibition regime and those hoping for a more pragmatic approach.

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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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