Weaknesses in the UN drug control system have often been identified, related to the functioning of the key organs UNODC, INCB, and the CND; related to collaboration with the wider UN system (WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, etc.) and related to the outdated character of several treaty provisions. What has been attempted to date to achieve more structural reform? Are existing evaluation mechanisms capable of bringing the need for reform to the table? How could a neutral and evidence-based role of UNODC as a centre of expertise be strengthened? How can these issues be related to the UN call for more ‘system-wide coherence’ and ‘delivery as one’?

  • UN poised to call for decriminalisation of drugs, says Richard Branson

    Businessman says he is breaking embargo as he fears political pressure will lead to withdrawal of statement at last minute
    The Guardian (UK)
    Monday, October 19, 2015

    The United Nations is on the verge of issuing a call for all governments to decriminalise the possession and use of all drugs, according to businessman and global drugs campaigner Richard Branson. In a statement on the Virgin website, Branson has claimed that the call is included in an as-yet unreleased, embargoed statement by the UN office on drugs and crime (UNODC) and marks a “refreshing shift” from a body that has “shaped much of global drug policy for decades”. (Transform: Leaked document shows UN agency in charge of drug war wants world to decriminalise all drugs)

  • UNGASS 2016: Prospects for Treaty Reform and UN System-Wide Coherence on Drug Policy

    Martin Jelsma
    Brookings Institute
    April 2015

    This paper explores key lessons from the 1990 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Drug Abuse (UNGASS 1990) and the 1998 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 1998), and tracks subsequent policy events and trends. It discusses the wide array of increasing tensions and cracks in the "Vienna consensus," as well as systemic challenges and recent treaty breaches. Various options for treaty reform are explored.

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  • CND 2015 Side Event: E-Book of Authorities

    E-Book of Authorities launched at 2015 CND to support international drug policy debates and negotiations

    The “E-Book of Authorities” is a civil society-led project to catalogue agreed UN statements and language on a selection of key topics. It aims to show the extent of existing international support for evidence-based drug policies, and to support international drug policy discussions, debates and negotiations.

    Visit the E-Book of Authorities

     

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  • The International Drug Control Regime and Access to Controlled Medicines

    Christopher Hallam
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies No. 26
    December 2014

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that some 5.5 billion people around the globe inhabit countries with low to non-existent access to controlled medicines and have inadequate access to treatment for moderate to severe pain. This figure translates to over 80 per cent of the world's population. Only in a small number of wealthy countries do citizens stand a reasonable chance of gaining adequate access to pain care, though even here room for improvement remains.

    application-pdfDownload the full briefing (PDF)
    application-pdfTélécharger ce rapport en français (PDF)

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  • Marijuana legalization is an opportunity to modernize international drug treaties

    Wells Bennett and John Walsh
    Brookings Center for Effective Public Management
    October 2014

    Two U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana, and more may follow; the Obama administration has conditionally accepted these experiments. Such actions are in obvious tension with three international treaties that together commit the United States to punish and even criminalize activity related to recreational marijuana. The administration asserts that its policy complies with the treaties because they leave room for flexibility and prosecutorial discretion.

    Download the briefing (PDF - outside link)

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  • The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition

    The History of Cannabis in the UN Drug Control System and Options For Reform
    Dave Bewley-Taylor Tom Blickman Martin Jelsma
    Transnational Institute / Global Drug Policy Observatory
    March 2014

    The cannabis plant has been used for spiritual, medicinal and recreational purposes since the early days of civilization. In this report the Transnational Institute and the Global Drug Policy Observatory describe in detail the history of international control and how cannabis was included in the current UN drug control system. Cannabis was condemned by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as a psychoactive drug with “particularly dangerous properties” and hardly any therapeutic value.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF 5MB)
    application-pdfRésumé en français (PDF)
    application-pdfDownload the press release (PDF)

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  • The US incapacity to enforce federal drug laws - and the global consequences

    Francisco Thoumi
    Open Democracy (US)
    Friday, November 1, 2013

    The US drug policy is changing, pitting states against federal law. This essay explores this inner friction of contradictory drug legislation, and what it may mean for the international drug control regime, itself a result of US drug policy. (4,400 words)

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  • Latin American leaders bring drug policy debate to the United Nations

    Heather Haase Coletta Youngers
    Monday, September 30, 2013

    At the annual UN General Assembly meeting held in New York, presidents from around the world have the chance to state their views on the key international issues of the day. Not surprisingly, the crisis in Syria, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Millennium Development Goals took center stage this year.  Yet a careful viewing of the speeches of the Latin American presidents illustrates the growing voice of Latin American leaders calling for meaningful reform of drug control policies.

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  • CND Intersessional Meeting

    Wednesday 25th September 2013
    CND Blog
    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    The intersessional meeting was intended as the first day of formal negotiations on the draft of the Joint Ministerial Statement (JMS) for the 2014 High Level Segment. However, the Peruvian Chair stated at the opening that the original plan – to produce a collation of member state comments/proposals, then work through them systematically in three intersessional meetings – had not worked, and had attracted criticism from many member states. He therefore asked that this session be a general ‘brainstorming’ where member states could propose the broad issues and perspectives.

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  • De wankele 'Weense consensus' over drugsbeleid

    Internationale Spectator
    April 2013

    ??Nederland is met zijn drugsbeleid in de achterhoede terecht gekomen, zo stelt Martin Jelsma. Zo zijn Uruguay en de Amerikaanse staten Washington en Colorado met hun besluit om de cannabismarkt van teelt tot gebruik te legaliseren, Nederland voorbijgestreefd. Ze schenden daarbij de VN-verdragen en lijken daarmee hervorming van het wereldwijde drugsbeleid af te dwingen. Ook vanuit het door drugsgeweld geteisterde Latijns-Amerika wordt de roep om legalisering van de drugsmarkt steeds groter.

    application-pdfDownload het artikel (PDF)

    De PDF van dit artikel is met toestemming van de redactie overgenomen uit de Internationale Spectator, maandblad voor internationale politiek, uitgegeven door de Koninklijke Van Gorcum te Assen namens het Nederlands Instituut voor Internationale Betrekkingen ‘Clingendael’ te Den Haag.

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