Civil Society engaged for UNGASS
The participation of civil society is being put forward in most international organizations. In the case of the European Union and as regards the world drug problem, this participation is exercised through the Civil Society Forum (CSF). Established in 2006 the CSF serves as a platform for informal exchanges of views and information between the European Commission and civil society organizations. The forum integrates the expertise of 40 NGOs which participate to the European policy making process.
The Civil Society forum on Drugs carries out its duties through a number of working groups mandated to address specific issues. At present, working groups endeavor to develop the official stance of civil society on a number of issues, including the minimum quality standards in the field of drug demand reduction, or as regards the preparatory work undertaken in anticipation of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem to be held in 2016.
The outcomes of the Civil Society Forum’s efforts are exemplified by how its stance could influence the European Union statement made on the occasion of the special segment on the preparations for the UNGASS, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, on December 3, 2014. Among other issues, the EU statement has incorporated a stance defended by the CSF to expand the health concept within the preparatory work in anticipation of the UNGASS.
The CSF annual meeting, organized by the European Commission, was held in Brussels on December 8 and 9. The plenary meeting reviewed the work achieved by the forum and discussed the next steps to undertake. In addition, a joint meeting was held with representatives from a number of member states to explain the views of the CSF on minimum quality standards in the field of drug demand reduction.
Member states representatives have expressed their satisfaction with the work of CSF on this topic, civil society being best placed to assess the regulatory needs and their effective implementation in this matter. Dianova has actively participated in quality standards surveys in the field of addiction treatment and helped shape a common stance for the CSF.
Lucía Goberna, Representative of Dianova International