2009-2019 — A crucial decade in international drug policy

Political approaches, tensions and compromises behind a new political consensus
In programme
Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 - 13:20 to 14:50
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The recent decade of 2009-2019 has seen a very intense debate on international drug policy and unprecedented political decisions in the field.

In 2009, after a first UN plan to counter the world drug problem (1998-2008), a new political declaration and plan of action set the year 2019 as a target date to ‘reduce significantly or eliminate’ several negative aspects of drug use such as illicit demand, production and trafficking.

In 2012, following an intense debate on drug policy reforms, a Mexican-led UN Resolution called for a United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) to be convened in 2016, to review policy, track progress, note achievements and identify challenges by the international community in countering the world drug problem.

In 2016, the Outcome of UNGASS produced a new consensus in international drug policy, giving new light and higher status to drug policy areas – such as access to medicines, human rights, gender and minorities, and prisons — which had received less attention until then.

In 2019, the CND Ministerial meeting reached a new difficult consensus between countries, with contrasting views. One group supported a broader and more public health-centered drug policy approach, through the full implementation of the UNGASS Outcome Document. The other group was more inspired by the traditional principles of international drug control policy, as enshrined in the political declaration and plan of action of 2009.

This session will review the debate that resulted from the UN Political Declaration of 2009, through the UNGASS of 2016, and led to the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration in 2019. It will provide a retrospective analysis of a decade that might have triggered a change in international drug policy. Key stakeholders in this debate will discuss the process of the past 10-years, focussing on the lessons learned and reflecting on the significance of the latest consensus. The ‘hands-on’ experience of the participants will bring a unique insider view of the different political perspectives, approaches and tensions in the debate leading to the Ministerial declaration of 2019.