What happened at the CND61?

The organized civil society is now playing an important role at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Representatives of Dianova members

Representatives of Dianova members, from l. to r.: Dr. Rajesh Kumar (SPYM); Kenneth Arctander (RIO); Lucía Goberna and Montse Rafel (OID) Michele Bellasich (Dianova Italy); Cristina von Sperling (Karim Khan Afridi Welfare Foundation – potential member); Ramona Tole (CEPA) and Rui Martins (Dianova Portugal)

The 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND61) was celebrated from March 12 to 16, 2018 at the Vienna International Center, which hosts the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The formal session was centered on preparations for the High Level Ministerial Segment that will take place in March 2019, and where the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action will be reviewed. The Ministerial Segment will aim to review the global situation with respect to the goals set in 2009. It should determine which path to follow in the future, following the perspectives determined by the UNGASS 2016.

Important resolutions were debated during this year’s formal session, upon issues ranging from removing stigma as a barrier to the availability and delivery of health, care and social services for people who use drugs; enhancing international cooperation to combat the synthetic opioid crisis, and; strengthening efforts to prevent drug use in educational settings.

It should be highlighted that during the CND plenary session, which gathers representatives of member States, international organizations, the scientific community, and civil society organizations, the international relations manager from association Proyecto Hombre, Oriol Esculies, proceeded to the reading of a Manifesto in defence of the therapeutic communities’ treatment model, to which Dianova was a signatory.

Special and side events

In addition to the formal CND61 session, 95 side events were organized by member states, civil society organizations, and other parties. It should be noted that Dianova participated in the following side events:

  • “40 years of drugs, drug addiction and recovery: an assessment of the drug situation and its evolution since 1978” – Side event organized by San Patrignano.
  • “Shedding light on the science of therapeutic communities—reviewing the latest evidence, sharing experiences from different fields and exploring their potential” – an organized by the Governments of Greece and Spain, the Proyecto Hombre Association, KETHEA and Dianova International.
  • “Human rights and quality standards in drug treatment” – an event organized by Dianova International and sponsored by the Government of Norway and RIO.

Participation of civil society

As the CND61 event calls on a large number of civil society representatives, the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) organized its general assembly on March 15. Elections were held on this occasion to fill the vacancies in the organization’s Board of directors. We are pleased to inform that the representative from Dianova International, Lucía Goberna Lehmann, was elected Vice-Chairperson of the VNGOC.

Another milestone for the civil society was the call for three informal dialogues with Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, Alicia Buenrostro, Chairperson of the CND, and Dr. Viroj Sumyai, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

Dianova took this opportunity to ask Mr. Fedotov how to improve civil society participation in government agencies dealing with the addiction problem, and about UNODC initiatives regarding the training of addiction counselors and other professionals. Additionally, as Vice-Chairperson of the VNGOC, Lucía Goberna moderated the informal dialogue with Dr. Viroj Sumyai, president of INCB.

Lastly, Dianova participated in the exhibition “Prevent. Don’t promote. Mobilize communities. Rediscover recovery” presented in the Plenary Hall of the CND.

We would like to point out that we positively value how the presence and work of other United Nations’ agencies are increasing, and how any action taken is now more clearly geared to the Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, civil society organizations play an increasing role at the CND, now becoming one of the key actors of this annual event. Faithful Dianova’s motto “Together, Farther”, we believe that civil society representing the whole ideological spectrum should fully participate in political decision-making processes.

Reception at the Embassy of Spain

Montse Rafel (Director General, Dianova International) and Francisco de Asís Babín, delegate to the Spanish government for the National Plan on Drugs, during a reception at the embassy of Spain