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 most recent UNGASS took place in 2016. To follow the preparations and proceedings check the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) special webpage.

  • Coherence Not Denial

    Alone among UN agencies, CND continues to block support for harm reduction
    A Statement from Harm Reduction Networks to the High Level Segment of the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs
    Vienna, March 11, 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.

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  • Out of ideas and out of touch

    United Nations drug policy review
    International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
    Press release
    March 9, 2009

    As political leaders from around the world gather in Vienna on 11-12 March to review the last decade of international drug control, and set a framework for the next ten years with the signing of a Political Declaration, any hopes for progress or a new pragmatism in approaches to the world drug problem are fading fast.

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  • International Drug Policy: Animated Report 2009

    Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Institute
    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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  • UN Human Rights Experts Contribute to UNGASS Review

    December 2008

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – Professor Manfred Nowak – and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – Mr Anand Grover – have written to the Chairperson of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to “offer guidance” regarding human rights issues that have arisen during the UN’s ten-year drug strategy review.

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  • Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

    Manfred Nowak
    Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
    Human Rights Council A/HRC/10/44
    January 14, 2009

    The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment submits his third report to the Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur focuses on the compatibility of the death penalty with the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment discusses a human rights-based approach to drug policies.

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  • UNGASS review reaches critical stage

    The 'Annex' to the United Nations Political Declaration on Drugs

    Transnational Institute, November 2008

    The review of the objectives and action plans agreed at the 1998 UNGASS on Drugs has reached a critical stage. Following the thematic debate at the 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and the five expert working groups held in Vienna over the summer, the attention now moves to the political process of negotiating the text of a political declaration to be agreed at the high level meeting in March 2009.

  • Beyond 2008: Final Declaration and Resolutions

    The "Beyond 2008" NGO Forum was held in Vienna, Austria from July 7-9, 2008.  It was the final step in the global consultation of NGOs involved in responding to drug related problems and to provide civil society input for the 10-year UNGASS review.
    Three draft resolutions and the draft declaration were subject to a line by line examination and intense debate. At the end of the Forum the Declaration and three Resolutions were adopted by consensus by all those participating in the Forum.  This was an historic achievement and reflected the maturity and commitment of the global NGO community. 

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  • Rewriting history

    A response to the 2008 World Drug Report
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 26
    June 2008

    The world today is not any closer to achieving the ten-year targets set by the 1998 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. These goals were “eliminating or significantly reducing the illicit cultivation of coca bush, the cannabis plant and the opium poppy by the year 2008.” Instead global production of opiates and cocaine has significantly increased over the last ten years. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) global illicit opium production doubled from 4,346 tons in 1998 to 8,800 tons in 2007. This is mainly due to the massive increase in opium production in Afghanistan. The estimated global cocaine production increased from 825 tons in 1998 to 994 tons in 2007, an increase of 20%.

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  • The 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs

    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.

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  • Statements at 2008 CND

    Several government and UN officials as well as civil society organisations made interesting statements at the 51st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on March 10-14, 2008.

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