ECAD took part in the 55th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs this weekMarch 12-16 in Vienna as an observer for Drug Free America. This year´s session was a special one, marking one hundredth anniversary of the Opium Convention signed in 1912 in Hague.

There was a number of important resolutions prepared by the member states: promoting treatment alternatives to imprisonment as a strategy for drug demand reduction (Mexico), promoting female oriented strategies and interventions for women at risk of drug abuse and drug dependence (Denmark), reintegration of persons released from prison who have renounced drug abuse (Ukraine) and others.

As a board member of Vienna NGO Committe on Drugs ECAD was involved in organizing the first Informal Civil Society Hearing, capitalizing on establishing relationships between governments and civil society at the CND. Three informal dialogues with the head of INCB, Prof. Hamid Ghodse,  Executive Director of UNDC, Yury Fedotov, and the Chair of CND, Carmen Bujan Feire, were organized by the Committee and the key persons of the drug policy stressed their efforts to establish a sustainable cooperation with NGOs on the regular basis.

The overwhelming amount of seminars and side events left very little room for reflection but the key message of the CND was probably delievered already at the opening session by UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov:

"Crucially, the international community must protect children. Young people need to live a rewarding life that offers numerous ways of obtaning enjoyment without the need for drugs.
UNODC`s own work on behalf of children exposed to drugs has started in Afghanistan and will extend soon to West Africa and East Asia. (...)

UNODC also stands ready to work with governments to improve access to drugs for medical purposes - particularly pain medications - while also countering diversion and drug abuse. Overall, our work on treatment side must be considered as part of the normal clinical work undertaken when responding to any other desease in the health system.

Our commitment is founded on the drug conventions. They form a part of a continuum based on human rights and the rule of law that flows directly from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international standards and norms to our delivery of practical actions. (...)"

Complete speech can be downloaded here (PDF-file)

33th and the 6th articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, upholding the right of children to live and develop in the drug-free communities have thus been underscored.

Youth Initiative, launched by the UNODC at the CND, alternative development and promoting of health-oriented approach with respect to human rights were important issues stressed at the multiple side-events and general sessions.