UNGASS

In March 2008, a two-year long 'period of global reflection' on the 1998 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem started. What have been the results? What space was there be for civil society to participate in the different stages of the process? What were the key issues on the table? What kind of improvements in the functioning of the UN drug control system have been achieved?
The next UNGASS will take place in 2016. To follow the preparations check the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) special webpage.

  • The human rights 'win' at the UNGASS on drugs that no one is talking about, and how we can use it

    A provision within the UNGASS resolution offers an opportunity for the two regimes to bridge the human rights gap
    Rick Lines and Damon Barret
    Monday, May 9, 2016

    ungass2016The April 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem offered a unique opportunity to re-examine the approach of punitive suppression that underpins global drug control. As the first such meeting to be held since 1998, it was a chance to set a new course, leaving behind what the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has called the negative ‘unintended consequences’ of the ‘war on drugs’.

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  • Rethinking drug prohibition on a global scale

    We need to improve public understanding of the concept of "harm reduction" as the primary goal of drug policy
    Vice (US)
    Monday, May 2, 2016

    ungass2016-ny-plenaryLast month, the United Nations General Assembly met for the first time in history to reconsider international drug prohibition with an eye toward policies focused on health and human rights. Facing unprecedented drug gang–related violence, Mexico, Colombia, and Guatemala had insisted the global confab be moved up by two years. Yet somehow there was no sense of urgency, and no actual changes were made, in large part due to the intransigence of Russia and China.

  • New agreement brings no end to war on drugs in ASEAN

    A global meeting on drugs failed to deliver a highly anticipated shift from a punitive approach to narcotics, disappointing Myanmar advocacy groups
    The Myanmar Times (Myanmar)
    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    opium-burmaThe outcome of the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs in New York resulted in an outcome document that brings little new to the table. Nang Pann Ei, a coordinator of the Drug Policy Advocacy Groups, called the UNGASS meeting significant because Myanmar civil society was able to speak up for opium farmers facing the constant threat of crop eradication. But she voiced disappointment about the resulting policy document, saying it has "some serious gaps". "It did not mention harm reduction specifically, and decriminalisation of drug use and abolishing the death penalty for drug-related offenses was not mentioned," she said.

  • Rethinking the global war on drugs

    World leaders met at the UN in a special session to discuss saner ways to fight the drug trade. They did not get very far toward a shift in approach
    OpEd
    The New York Times (US)
    Monday, April 25, 2016

    The U.S. is in the untenable position of violating the existing treaties — now that four states have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. The Canadian government announced that it will introduce a bill next spring to decriminalize the sale of marijuana. Mexican leaders announced that their country intends to legalize medical marijuana and loosen restrictions on the amount of drugs people can possess for personal use. These new policies could render the existing drug treaties obsolete. Clearly, those accords need to be updated, heeding the experiences and lessons learned by the nations that have paid the highest price in the drug war.

  • Mexico's president proposes legalising medical marijuana

    Enrique Peña Nieto says laws would stop "criminalising consumption"
    The Guardian (UK)
    Friday, April 22, 2016

    pena-nieto-2016Following his statement at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) in which he called for more prevention, partial decriminalization and a public health approach, Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto has announced plans to introduced laws to legalise medical marijuana and increase the quantity anyone can carry and consume for recreational purposes from five grams to 28 grams. His plan would also free some prisoners convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana. The initiative, which will now go to the senate for debate, signals a shift for Peña Nieto, who says he has never smoked marijuana and has openly opposed its legalisation.

  • Global Commission slams UNGASS 2016 outcome that strains the credibility of international law

    By ignoring the available science and examples of best practice on drug policy and harm reduction, the UN will become increasingly irrelevant
    The Influence (US)
    Thursday, April 21, 2016

    At a packed press conference in Manhattan, a formidable panel – including former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Switzerland, a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, a former UK deputy prime minister and entrepreneur Richard Branson – declared itself "profoundly disappointed" by the failure of the UNGASS 2016 outcome document to produce substantive change. The nine panelists represented half of the membership of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a body which unites international leaders to advocate for wide-ranging drug policy reform. (See also: Decriminalize all drugs, business and world leaders tell UN)

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