Assembly of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs

In its 7-year period as a member of the Board, Dianova can bear witness of the exemplary role of the VNGOC in defending and promoting the work of NGOs at the UN

On 24 September the Assembly of the Vienna NGO Committee (VNGOC) was held, including the election procedure of Committee's Board of Officers. Ms Elena Goti has served since 2008 on the same board as a representative of Dianova International and made three consecutive terms as Deputy Secretary before leaving office this year.

Comité de Vienne des ONG sur les DroguesSince it was created, back in 1983, the VNGOC has been aiming to facilitate NGO relations with United Nations agencies dealing with drug issues, including the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the UN Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The VNGOC is dedicated to ensure that the voices of civil society are heard and  to involve NGOs in policy-making, as pointed it out Michel Perron, former president of VNGOC:"International conventions are no longer the exclusive domain of governments." VNGOC also aims to get governments to work with NGOs in more confidence, as well as to promote and publicize the activities of the latter.

Dianova has been affiliated with the Vienna NGO Committee  since 2007, after obtaining special consultative status with ECOSOC. From that moment on, Dianova has been attending VNGOC and CND meetings, as well as special encounters to prepare specific projects, such as the Beyond 2008 process and the UNGASS 2016 preparatory sessions.

If one takes stock of a seven-year period as a member of the VNGOC, and later on as a member of its Board of Officers, one could say that Dianova International has witnessed the exemplary role played by the Vienna Committee in defending and promoting the work of NGOs at the United Nations, regardless of their orientations with respect to drug policy.

Changes to be emphasized in this 7-year period

In recognition of its work in promoting the work and contributions of NGOs, the VNGOC obtained a permanent sitting space during CND meetings in Vienna.

The VNGOC undertook to implement "informal discussions" with the CND, INCB and UNODC. Their relationships with partnering NGOs, considering their quality and efficiency, have been declared "formal" and their conclusions are now appended to CND reports.

The VNGOC has gone from being an "informal Committee" to an Austrian NGO with consultative status with ECOSOC

The VNGOC has significantly improved the participation of NGOs in United Nations meetings through the development of: agendas annotated by civil society organizations, a guide for NGOs, the implementation of host tables for participating NGOs, the organization of NGO briefings for member organizations. In addition, the VNGOC has participated in providing NGOs with basic training on how to deal more effectively with the UN system, and how to prepare effective intervention modalities.

Following the elections on September 24, Dianova International remains a member of the VNGOC. As such, the organization will continue to complement the Committee's efforts in fulfilling its mission to convey the voice of civil society organizations and publicize their activities within international agencies in Vienna.

Dianova International would like to congratulate the new members of the VNGOC's new Board of Offices while encouraging them to keep up their good work for the sake of civil society stakeholders.