Publication of a guide to help NGOs contribute to the Outcome Document of UNGASS and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
By Lucia Goberna Lehman – Approved in 2015, the 2030 agenda is based on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and assure prosperity by the year 2030. As regards the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), it is a high-level agreement that established a series of recommendations which should guide all actions aimed at improving the global drug problem in the upcoming years. The recommendations of UNGASS 2016 are a key tool to provide coherence and a better coordination of drug policies and are also a significant step forward in addressing the problem from a more holistic and public health standpoint – putting people at the centre of policies, taking into account key aspects, such as the needs of different groups and the interconnection with Human Rights, among many other aspects.
There is a key element in Agenda 2030 and in the logic of UNGASS, and in reality in the development of any policy today; that is, interconnection and interdependence between different aspects and the need to deal with it from a holistic perspective. And this includes, of course, the actors in society such as civil society organizations acting at the local, national and international levels.
Going further into the connection with the SDGs, the results of a recent Global Civil Society Consultation show that of the 461 civil society organisations that work in the area of drugs and participated in the survey, 95% consider that their work contributes to at least one of the seventeen SDGs and 19% consider that their work contributes to all of the SDGs. This shows how drug policies and SDGs are cross-cutting elements.
In order to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations of the Outcome Document of UNGASS and the SDGs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) supported by the Swedish Government, the “Working Together – Drugs and Sustainable Development: A Guide for Civil Society” has been published. The objective is to familiarise NGOs with the UNGASS Outcome Document, indicating the potential for implementation of the different recommendations and showing the interconnections between SDGs and UNGASS. The report was presented at a parallel event of the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on the March 20 in Vienna and also allowed grassroots organisations in India, Kenya and Brazil to submit their best practices on this subject.
Conference edition (subject to modification)
The guide brings together a series of good practices from civil society around the world exemplifying how they contribute with their work to the implementation of the UNGASS 2016 recommendations and contribute to the SDGs. The Dianova network, firmly committed to both objectives, is given as a good example of the following aspects of the operational recommendations of UNGASS 2016:
- Chapter 1 – Demand reduction and related measures, including prevention and treatment, as well as other health-related issues: Good practice from Dianova Spain “Early intervention programme”
- Chapter 4 – Cross-cutting issues: drugs and human rights, youth, children, women and communities: Good practice from Dianova Canada “Social housing with community support for non-discriminatory access to health services”
- Chapter 6 – Strengthening international cooperation based on the principle of common and shared responsibility: Good practice from Dianova Chile “International certification: professional and skills development in residential treatment”.
At Dianova we are pleased to see how the effort we make regarding the implementation of the UNGASS recommendations and the contribution to SDGs is heading in the right direction. We are deeply committed to doing this job well as shown in a report (published July, 2018) on the implementation of the recommendations of the UNGASS outcome document in all areas of the network’s activities – download report here.
We share the conviction of UNODC that working together, we can make a greater contribution towards better drug policies and a more sustainable world. For this reason, we congratulate them on the publication, and we encourage all organisations and people to commit to it and to move forward together.