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Jun 19, 2008



We, participants in the “Beyond 2008” International NGO Forum, representing the culmination of thirteen consultations in all nine regions of the world and involving over 500 NGOs from 116 countries and 65 international NGOs;

Acknowledge the long history of the Vienna Non-Governmental Organisations Committee (VNGOC) on Narcotic Drugs and its work to bring NGO contributions to United Nations drug policy events,
Note that NGOs are often the primary providers of established and innovative services for those who use illicit drugs and can thus be uniquely placed to make contact with and bring the voice of the individuals, families and communities most affected by the adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse,

Recall the Political Declaration, the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction and the Measures to Enhance International Cooperation to Counter the World Drug Problem adopted by the General Assembly at its twentieth special session devoted to countering the world drug problems together,
Welcome the CND resolutions 49/2 and 51/4 on the need to recognize and encourage the efforts of civil society, including NGOs, in addressing problems associated with the use of illicit drugs and calling for their contribution to the UNGASS review and reflection process,

Grateful for the support of our partner the UNODC and the generous financial and in kind support afforded by several members states and non-governmental organizations to realize the Beyond 2008 consultations and Forum,

Respectful of the United Nations Drug Control Conventions, the flexibility afforded within these and of the role and mandate of the CND, and welcoming the political resolve of world leaders to reduce adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse,

Acknowledge that the targets set at the UNGASS on Illicit Drugs in 1998 were ambitious and that while progress has occurred in some areas, the results achieved have been limited,

Convinced that the collective strengths of governments, the CND, the United Nations Office on Drugs, its related United Nations partner agencies and NGOs must be re-catalyzed into a common, complementary global partnership if further demonstrable progress is to be achieved to reduce adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse problems,

Note the opportunity of capitalizing on under-utilitized supportive functions of all religions and faiths to prevent drug misuse.

1. Welcome the opportunity to present three companion resolutions to this Declaration to the CND in its preparation for the High Level Meeting of 2009 on three specific areas:

Objective 1: to highlight NGO achievements in the field of drug control, with emphasis on contributions to the 1998 UNGASS Action Plan, in areas such as policy, community engagement, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration

Objective 2: to review best practices related to collaboration mechanisms among NGOs, governments and UN agencies in various fields, and to propose new and improved ways of working with the UNODC and CND
Objective 3: to adopt a series of high-order principles, drawn from the Conventions and their commentaries that would be tabled with UNODC and CND, for their consideration and serve as a guide for future deliberations on drug policy

2. Call upon the CND and UNODC to give these recommendations serious and due consideration

3. Commit ourselves to continue providing our experience and expertise to governmental and non-governmental agencies in efforts to find humane, just and effective responses to reduce adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse

4. Welcome the opportunity of future dialogue towards and during the High Level segment of the CND in 2009, designed to identify ways forward.



Acknowledging the commitment made by Heads of States at the twentieth Special Session of the General Assembly to achieve significant and measurable results in the field of demand reduction, inter alia, by the year 2008, the commitment to report progress on achieving goals and targets by 2008 and the General Assembly request to the CND to analyze such reports,

Recalling also the Action Plan for the implementation of the Declaration on the Guiding Principles for Demand Reduction adopted by the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session which states that civil society, including non-governmental organizations, can make an effective contribution to and should play an active role in addressing the world drug problems,

Noting the fundamental importance of primary prevention including those efforts aimed at alcohol and tobacco abuse as important and complementary efforts to reduce future illicit drug use.

Mindful that approaches to address the problem should be evidence based and supported by the scientific data and that these should be culturally and socially appropriate and focus on long term solutions not solely the mitigation of short term harms.

Noting that monitoring and data collection over time is the essential basis for evaluation and the continuing development of effective policy and practice. and welcoming the initial efforts of UNODC and the Vienna NGO Committee to provide such instruments through the Biennial reports Questionnaire (BRQ) and the NGO Questionnaire

Recognizing the important contributions made by NGO’s since 1998, as reported through the NGO questionnaire and the Beyond 2008 regional consultations, including, inter alia:

i. the substantial increase in the number of NGOs addressing drug related problems, and in the number of staff and volunteers engaged with NGOs in this field

ii. the improved networking between NGOs facilitating their engagement with relevant governmental and regulatory bodies in the development and implementation of policy, strategy and best practices at national and international level

iii. the increasing quality and range of interventions provided by NGOs, covering primary prevention, early intervention, outreach and low threshold services, treatment, rehabilitation and recovery and social reintegration

iv. efforts to prevent and address the adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse including reducing HIV and hepatitis transmission,

v. the increased attention to and advocacy for interventions which are culturally, socially and gender sensitive,

vi. their increased contributions to the research and evaluation literature

vii. the involvement of affected individuals, users and communities, for instance civic and religious leaders, indigenous peoples and peasants’ organizations, marginalized and socially excluded or isolated peoples, especially people who use drugs, in the design and implementation of policy and practice.
Recall that while the NGO Questionnaire and the Regional Consultations organized by Beyond 2008 identified the significant achievements of NGOs since the 1998 UNGASS it also identified areas which require further attention. To this end, the participants in the “Beyond 2008” International NGO Forum:

1. Call upon Member States:

a. to further increase investment, attention and priority in the development and implementation of the full range of drug demand programs, as well as alternative development projects,

b. to reaffirm their commitment to addressing drug misuse primarily as public health issue requiring expanded public health responses in line with national HIV responses and human rights approaches,

c. and NGOs to offer a plurality of services designed to make contact with people who use drugs to improve their health and social well- being and to promote rehabilitation and social reintegration,

d. and other funding bodies to sustain those interventions which through their monitoring and evaluation activities are able to demonstrate effectiveness.

2. Call upon the CND to:

a. develop a common standard against which demand and supply reduction activities can be measured in terms of their efficacy and outcomes,

b. ensure that those who are most affected by drug misuse are meaningfully and actively involved in the development of policies and programs,

c. evaluate its own work and identify ways in which its effectiveness might be improved.

3. Call upon UNODC to:

a. develop, in partnership with the World Health Organization, a global program for the definition of standards and best practices in the delivery of services and assist Member States to develop and scale up these services in accordance with the nature of the drug problem in their territory,

b. ensure that the CND is provided with the broadest possible analysis of the available research and evaluation so that its decisions are guided by the best and most relevant data and evidence, including data on the transmission of blood borne diseases,

c. develop improved monitoring and data collection tools to assist CND, Member States and NGOs to measure their achievements and assess the impact of policy and practice, in the fields of supply and demand reduction,

4. Call upon funding agencies and NGOs to include evaluation as a standard and required element for any project and to ensure that evaluation reports are published and lodged with an appropriate library, noting the importance of research and evaluation for the development of improved knowledge on what works and in what settings.

5. Support continued innovation and the testing out of new approaches by, amongst others, NGOs, using the full flexibility allowed for in the drug control conventions, recognizing that different contexts will require adapted responses and that there is a need to build and develop the knowledge base and our capacity to respond to reduce adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse.

6. Call upon Member States, UNODC and the international and regional financial institutions to develop further long- term, sustainable, ecologically-sensitive, and fully inclusive alternative development programs in cooperation with civil society organizations including peasant and farmer organizations and non-governmental organizations and to take into account traditional licit use, in line with Article 14 of the 1988 Convention.



Acknowledging the efforts of the United Nations to improve its effectiveness by enhancing dialogue with Non Governmental Organizations and civil society

Recalling the Political Declaration adopted by the General Assembly at its twentieth special session, devoted to countering the world drug problems, which recognized that action against the world drug problems was a common and shared responsibility requiring an integrated and balanced approach that involved civil society, including non-governmental organizations,

Recognizing and respecting the authority vested in the CND by the General Assembly,
Appreciating the efforts of many UNODC country offices and national authorities in a number of countries to substantively involve NGOs in the development and implementation of drug policy and strategies.

Welcoming the formal consultative mechanisms which have been developed through which government, academic and practitioner participants have been able to explore issues of common policy interest in an open forum,

Noting that at present there are no systematic mechanisms available to consult with NGOs or with civil society generally to assist the CND or UNODC in developing their policy and programs whilst welcoming the UNODC’s efforts at increasing the engagement and participation of NGO’s in drug control matters and the Executive Directors view that “drug issues are too important to be left to government alone”

Noting that “Beyond 2008” was created to facilitate the input of NGOs into the review of the 1998 UNGASS on drugs and encouraged that it has provided a platform through which NGOs with diverse ideological positions have been able to meet and find substantial areas of common ground
To this end, the participants in the “Beyond 2008” International NGO Forum:

1) Exhort all NGO’s to come together in a spirit of shared responsibility, accountability and commitment to the betterment of all and to commit to a productive partnership among themselves, with their respective national governments and with key international institutions such as UNODC in order to advance the use of evidence informed, practical and on the ground experience to reduce the adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse in all its manifestations

2) Call upon the CND to:

a) review consultative mechanisms which have been developed by other UN entities, for example, UNESCO, the Crime Congress and UNAIDS and establish a recurring event with a specific thematic focus that would meaningfully involve governments, academics and NGOs and serve as a catalyst in stimulating informed discussion and proposals for collective action,

b) commission a review of the level of engagement and expenditure attributed to NGO activity by other UN entities and consider and approve proposals arising from such a review which can enhance the involvement and contribution of NGOs and further develop the role of the UNODC Civil Affairs Office

3) Call upon Member States to:

a) establish transparent and systematic mechanisms for engagement and consultation at a national level, including NGOs, when developing policy, strategy and practice guidance

b) welcome national policies and legislation that are supportive of civil society gatherings, discussions and request that adequate time, space and resources are provided for such consultations

c) support and seek the contribution of NGO’s on a more systematic basis by including them as expert and/or full members of their delegations to the CND

4) Call upon UNODC to:

a) implement the spirit and priorities of the General Assembly as it pertains to NGO engagement

b) work within the framework provided by the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and in line with global political declarations, in collaboration with co-sponsors, to develop and strengthen civil society participation structures to match such involvement in other UN agencies and programs

c) explore means to establish national NGO focal points to promote two way communication, using as a model the structures established by UNAIDS

d) promote more regional meetings to share best practice

e) support the establishment of thematic networks on specific drug-related issues, building on the work already undertaken with regard to prevention and treatment, whether at regional, trans regional or global level

f) take a more active role in promoting a comprehensive package of interventions in the response to the transmission of blood-borne infections

5) Call upon the INCB to:

a) broaden the scope of key informants used in their analysis by systematically including NGO’s in that process

b) regularly meet with representatives of civil society when conducting in-country assessments in order to have the benefit of their input and incorporate this perspective.

c) publishing reports on substantive discussions and outcomes from their meeting with Governments and NGOs

6) Call for the relationship between UNODC, CND and NGOs to be monitored and evaluated for the results achieved every two years by each party and through a joint monitoring, consultation and planning group, with meaningful NGO involvement and this evaluation should be results-based and reported to the CND as well as the UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board for further action.



Recognizing that the Charter of the United Nations, the founding document of the organization, enshrines the binding and primacy commitment of signatories to health, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Further noting that the present system of worldwide drug control is based on three international conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, and that by 14 March 2008, 183 states were Parties to these three Convention.

Underscoring that the drug control conventions sit within a broader framework of UN treaties and declarations including, inter alia, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the World Health Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and that there should be complementarities between these international instruments and the respective UN bodies responsible for them.
Underscoring that the rapid spread of blood borne infections, including HIV and hepatitis, and the increasing evidence of co-existing mental health disorders and problematic substance use require greater attention to be given to the health and public health aspects of drug policy.

A balanced approach

Noting that the need to take action on demand reduction is stressed in each of the three Conventions and welcoming the explicit efforts and decisions taken to address drug demand reduction including, inter alia, the Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline, the 1998 UNGASS Political Declaration, the Guiding Principles on Drug Demand Reduction and subsequent resolutions of the CND but noting also the discrepancy between the decisions taken and actual practice at national and international levels.

Drawing attention to the fact that the language of the Drug Control Conventions on supply control measures are mandatory on Parties while those related to demand reduction measures are not.

Concluding that despite significant and serious effort, demand reduction activities continue to lag behind supply reduction at the national and international levels and that this is reflected in the balance of discussion at the CND and in the composition of national delegations to the Commission, as well as in UNODC budgets.
Acknowledging that the conventions require that “the Parties shall give special attention to and take all practicable measures for the prevention of abuse of drugs and for the early identification, treatment, education after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of the persons involved and shall coordinate their efforts to these ends” 1

Recognising that under the conventions State Parties - either as an alternative to conviction or punishment or in addition to conviction or punishment for a drug law offence - may provide that the offender undergoes measures of treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration, but noting that this provision is not adequately implemented

Recalling that the “medical use of narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and the treatment of addiction, and that adequate provisions must be made to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs for such purposes” Underscoring that a majority of the “Beyond 2008” regional consultations reported that the controls required for narcotic drugs created an impediment to the availability of essential drugs for pain control as well as access to substances known to be effective for the treatment of drug addiction dependence as well as in access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and other health related services. The participants in the “Beyond 2008” International NGO Forum:

1. Call upon the CND to:

a. Re-emphasize the importance of adhering to and fulfilling the obligations and commitments of ‘soft law’ instruments such as the Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline, the Guiding Principles on Demand Reduction and resolutions agreed at the CND and revise the agenda of the annual session of the Commission to give greater time and priority to drug demand reduction,

b. Ensure that demand reduction and the reduction of the adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse as characterized within the drug control conventions are considered as challenges of equal importance to and as required as supply reduction activities,

c. Create Guiding Principles on Effective Treatment in consultation with relevant authorities such as the World Health Organization, UNODC, UNAIDS, et al and relevant regional organizations as well as with service providers and users. These Guiding Principles should outline a common definition of effectiveness and structural conditions including inter alia policies, facilities, services and professional development aimed at achieving the greatest positive impact,

d. Require that the competent authorities such as the INCB and UNODC regularly address countries’ performance against these standards, and report annually to the Commission on the adoption and implementation results of such Standards.

2. Call upon Member States to:

a. Ensure that the composition of their delegation to the CND reflects the agenda and functions of the Commission, to facilitate good governance and policy guidance, with an increased focus on expertise related to demand reduction and reducing the adverse health and social consequences of drug misuse,

b. Support the efforts being undertaken by WHO, in consultation with INCB and UNODC, to ensure that all drugs classified as essential medicines are widely and readily available to medical practitioners and to establish the conditions which allow access by medical practitioners to these essential medicines

3. Call upon the INCB to:

a. Give equal attention to the supply and demand reduction elements of the Drug Control Conventions in their reports, challenging countries’ poor performance and highlighting best practices and innovative approaches in both these elements with a view to fully exploring the existing latitude and flexibility of the Drug Control Conventions

b. Undertake a review of the application of criminal sanctions as a drug control measure, in consultation with other relevant bodies such as the UNHCHR, UNHRC and UNODC and to advise on the appropriateness of such sanctions commensurate to the actual offence and the opportunities for alternative sanctions.

4. Call upon UNODC to:

a. Ensure greater knowledge and understanding by the CND of the reciprocal impact of decisions made and policies adopted by the Commission and related UN agencies such as UNAIDS, WHO, UNESCO, etc.

b. Seek from Member States the funds and support to significantly enhance its analytical capacity and its ability to identify, collate and disseminate best practices in supply and demand reduction,

c. Establish a demand reduction mechanism equivalent to the Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA) to provide it with improved technical guidance and information on policy and strategy and their practical application in the field

5. Call upon NGOs to:

a. Work together at appropriate levels (sub-national, national, regional or international) to develop and implement quality improvement criteria for their activities, drawing upon work which has already been undertaken in some countries and regions,

b. Undertake regular policy and practice audits of their activities, using information from a wide range of sources including their target population, to identify areas for improvement,

c. Increase transparency by publishing annual reports and financial accounts, even if not required by national or local legislation

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