Support. Don't Punish. campaign is aiming to envision future drug policy scenarios, this time focusing on law enforcement. During this free webinar organised on the Global Day of Action, which is officially the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, we will collectively focus on the future of drug policing and imagine effective ways for drug policy reform.
The Eighth Informal Dialogue on Drug Policies in Latin America was held in Lima, with the support of the Drugs and Human Rights Research Center (Centro de Investigación Drogas y Derechos Humanos, CIDDH). The event included 32 participants from ten countries in Latin America and Europe, the United States and international agencies. The two days of dialogue were organized in six sessions focusing on the following topics: Drug policy in Peru and its challenges; alternative development theory and practice; harm reduction policies for the drug market; the future of reforms: decriminalization of possession and cultivation for personal consumption; the legal market for coca leaves; and, options and debate in international bodies.
The 53rd Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was a rather uneventful event. After the High Level Segment in 2009, the final agreement on the new Political Declaration and the unprecedented addition of an Interpretative Statement on harm reduction, this year’s CND would be a generally low-key affair. One of the most controversial issues were the comments of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) on the trend to decriminalize possession for personal use in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Both Argentina and Mexico voiced strong objections. This CND also was marked by the imminent departure of Mr. Costa as Executive Director of the nited Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
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.
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. The two-day dialogue was focused on three themes: (1) explore common ground within a set of general parameters by which 'best practice' or effective drug policy is judged not on dogma or on moral principle but on scientifically evaluated, empirical evidence; (2) the policy debate on cannabis; (3) harm reduction developments at the regional and UN level; and (4) supply reduction.
The second Informal Drug Policy Dialogue was co-hosted by the Department for Drug Strategic Affairs of the Hungarian Ministry of Youth, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The two-day dialogue was focused on three themes: (1) harm reduction developments at the regional and UN level; (2) alternative development: dilemmas around coca and opium reduction efforts; and (3) preparations for the 2008 UNGASS review. Participants had the opportunity to exchange information and make comments from their own perspective on developments in these policy areas. The aim was to come to workable suggestions and ideas that could be used in the ongoing debate.
The fourth meeting in the series of Informal Drug Policy Dialogues in Latin America was held in Cochabamba and was organised by WOLA and TNI with the support of the Government of Bolivia, in coordination with CONALTID (Ministry of Foreign Relations). People who are directly or indirectly involved in the debates on current policies participated in the meeting. Three sessions covered the following topics: (1) Progress and Challenges in the UNGASS Review Reflection Period; (2) Coca Leaf and Integrated and Sustainable Development: What are the options for the future? (3) No Escape? The Prison Problem and Drug Policy in Latin America: proposals for change.
The eighth meeting of the Informal Drug Policy Dialogue series took place in Lisbon on January 21-22, 2011, a joint initiative of Transnational Institute (TNI) and Diogenis, Drug Policy Dialogue in South East Europe that has replaced the Andreas Papandreou Foundation (APF) in co-operation with the Portuguese Institute on Drugs and Drug Addiction (IDT). Over 50 policy makers, practitioners, academics, and representatives from NGOs and governmental organisations attended the meeting, and discussed the Portuguese decriminalisation model, cannabis policy reform, and the agenda and global initiatives at the 54th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
Prior to the Dialogue an Expert Seminar on Threshold Quantities was held in cooperation with the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drugs Addiction (EMCDDA). The issues under discussion were the advantages and disadvantages of threshold quantities as a policy and legislative tool and it was hoped that this seminar would provide a springboard to inform current debate and to assist the elaboration of evidence-based drug law reform proposals now and in the future.
The seventh meeting of the Informal Drug Policy Dialogues in Latin America took place in Montevideo, Uruguay. The first Informal Dialogue also took place in Montevideo in September 2007. The meeting was supported by Uruguay’s National Drug Board (Junta Nacional de Drogas, or JND). The two days of dialogue were divided into four sessions that centered on the following issues: (1) Micro-trafficking and proportionality of sentences; (2) Challenges to reforming drug policies; (3) Marijuana in Latin America: Has the time come to open the debate?; and (4) Options and debates in international and regional organizations. There was also a discussion on the impact of the decriminalization of drug consumption in Portugal.
The sixth meeting was held near Buenos Aires and was organized by WOLA and TNI, and sponsored by the Argentine Government through the Chief of Cabinet and its Scientific Advisory Committee with the support of Intercambios. Participants included people involved in the reform processes of national and international legal instruments related to drug issues. Debates centered on three key areas: (1) Reforms in policies regarding the prevention and treatment of problematic use of substances; the future of Harm Reduction programs in Latin America; (2) Decriminalization of possession; limits to and extent of current penal reforms; and (3) Legal reforms in the international arena: the case of the coca leaf.
This International Symposium provides a timely opportunity for practitioners and stakeholders across Europe to discuss the latest challenges and consider the next steps needed to win the fight against illicit drug trafficking and substance misuse through holistic, multi-level and cross-border approaches. Public Policy Exchange welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.
In recent years, the Americas have been at the forefront of calls for a meaningful review of traditional approaches to drug control based on tough law enforcement and incarceration. The region has borne many of the costs of this approach, including enduring prison overcrowding, violence, and the proliferation of organised criminal organisations. Past policies have caused considerable health and social harms as well. Forced crop eradication programmes have only contributed to cycles of poverty and punitive responses to drug consumption have expanded in lieu of public health approaches.