A word from Prof Margaret Hamilton
I am sending this to let you know that I continue as a members of the Civil Society Task Force responding to the ongoing evolution and development of drug policy under the UN (& sending it through Carrie Fowlie as she will have an up to date list I assume). I am unlikely to send it to all of the people who responded to my efforts to consult face to face and through internet during 2015 leading up to the UNGASS 2016 but I am happy for you to share this more broadly as appropriate & I am happy to receive ideas and issues from anyone who wishes to send them to me; bearing in mind that the main focus will be on the Implementation of the previous UNGASS work last year.
Having consulted with you and others during 2015 and 2016, you will have received a report from me on 24th June 2016 about the participation of the NGO/Civil society in the United Nations General Assembly meeting held in New York in April last year. (Report attached now for your reference ).
This year the main focus of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will be on the implementation of the resolution passed at the end of the previous meeting of the General Assembly on Drugs and working toward the next General Assembly meeting of the UN in 2019.
A number of NGO groups will be attending again and the Civil Society Task Force will continue to work to represent the interests of this diverse community; taking any opportunity to have input in to the discussions and debates that occur and that they have access to.
Since there is no budget available to support consultation or attendance, over this past year I have relied on attending meetings, speaking with colleagues, trying to keep up with issues as they arise in both the fixed and social media and various other sources to retain some connection to the current experience and views of the mix of NGO’s in our sector here in Australia.
Ross Bell (from the NZ Drug Foundation) and I will again both be representing the Australasian / Oceania region at this years meeting of the CSTF held in conjunction with the CND. This will occur during the CND 60th Session held in Vienna from 13th – 17th March. I do know that there will be some other Australian NGO representatives there and I look forward to connecting with them.
I will endeavor to report back on anything of relevance to local/Australian groups on my return from the meetings this year. While the main focus of overall discussion will be on the implementation of the UN General Assembly meeting last year, there are opportunities to let other regional representatives know of issues that are currently pressing at local levels.
In the meantime, do let me know if you or someone from your organisation is attending CND in Vienna this year and also if you have particular issues of concerns that you would want me to raise and/or represent at these meetings. I have included a copy of my report from UNGASS last year and a link to the Outcome document from UNGASS 2016 https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N16/110/24/PDF/N1611024.pdf?
See below the issues that have been identified for possible discussion if/when opportunity.
I look forward to working with colleagues to ensure that the NGO’s voice remains respected and heard at these international forums. I will be leaving late next week for Vienna.
Prof M Hamilton AO
Broad issues that have been raised so far:
- Need for increased opportunities for evidence based interventions including treatment, prevention and harm reduction
- Supervised injecting rooms (including MSIC’s)
- New psychoactive substances (New and emerging substances; including scheduling of new substances and identification of pre-cursors)
- Pill testing and associated drug early warning systems.
- Access to essential medicines
- The emerging concern regarding prescription medications Medicinal cannabis
- Death penalty re drug related crime (including specific discussion of countries of concern such as the Philippines)
- Mandatory treatment
- Hep C & access to treatment (linked to WHO discussions/efforts)
- Harm reduction measures including Naloxone provision
- Families and friends of users of drugs – their needs
- Stigma and discrimination of people who use drugs and their families and friends
- Culturally safe programmes for Indigenous Peoples; especially treatment
- Justice responses and the inadequacy of prisons re drugs (lack of screening, assessment, treatment, and measures that are vital to reduce the spread of infections)
- Noting that the overall UN theme of Sustainable Development Goals (Toward 2030) and some framing of all UN processes to incorporate these in their deliberations.