Aligning Drug Policy with Environmental Protection 66th CND Side Event, 2023

Publication date:

Between 13 - 17 March, a TNI delegation participated at the 66th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, the UN’s principal forum on drug policy. 


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Full recording, including remarks by Sylvia Kay (TNI)

TNI organised a side-event together with several other NGOs and the governments of Brazil and Colombia on ‘Aligning Drug Policy with Environmental Protection’. During the event, panellists spoke about the negative consequences of drug control policies for the environment, biodiversity, and people, and put forward recommendations for an environmental harm reduction approach.1

A full transcription of the side-event is to be found here.

1. As the UN is seeking greater drug policy coherence, including via the implementation of the UN System Common Position, it is urgent that drug policy becomes better aligned with other crucial UN priorities, including protecting the environment, conserving nature, tackling climate change and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples. To date, only limited steps have been taken to illuminate the intersections between drug policy and the environment, and even less to bring global regimes into alignment. The UN drug control system is often found to operate at odds with UN regime complexes in other issue areas.

This side event explored how punitive drug policies have empowered organised crime and accelerated environmental degradation, and proposed concrete recommendations to ensure that UN and national drug policies can support – instead of undermine – efforts made by the international community to protect the environment. The speakers: Clemmie James, Health Poverty Action; Jhon Alexander Rojas Cabrera, Governor of Nariño, Colombia; Kendra McSweeney, Ohio State University; Dave Bewley-Taylor, Global Drug Policy Observatory; Pedro Arenas, Corporación Viso Mutop; Sylvia Kay, Transnational Institute; Marta Machado, National Secretary for Drug Policy, Brazil. Organised by the Transnational Institute, the governments of Brazil and Colombia, the Global Drug Policy Observatory, Health Poverty Action, the International Drug Policy Consortium, Open Society Foundations, Viso Mutop and the Washington Office on Latin America.

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