The UN General Assembly will hold a Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in 2016. This Special Session will be an important milestone in achieving the goals identified in the policy document of 2009 “Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World  Drug Problem”, which defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.

The next UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs was due to be held in 2019 – the target date set out in the 2009 Political Declaration and Action Plan for the achievement of a significant reduction in or the elimination of the demand and supply of drugs.

But in September 2012, the presidents of Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico called on the UN to host an international conference that would address specific needs and perspectives concerning drug-related harm in Latin America. Subsequently, a provision was included in an annual omnibus resolution on drug policy – sponsored by Mexico, and co-sponsored by 95 other countries – to bring forward this global drug policy summit to 2016.

You can read more about the background here.

As the global community is headed towards UNGASS 2016, in New York, civil society engagement has to be ensured.

In IOGT International we’ve been working for many years now with and through the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, in order to support a strong and engaged civil society voice. Right now, our Executive Director is the Acting Chair of VNGOC.

But to facilitate civil society participation in the UNGASS 2016-process some NGOs saw the need for the additional creation of the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF). It is a task force of 27 representatives and a steering committee. The CSTF will be responsible for ensuring representation of civil society voices into the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drug Policy.

The CSTF has been recently announced – and that was good news for us in IOGT International and the global conversation on illicit drugs.

In his function as Acting Chair of the VNGOC, our Executive Director Esbjörn Hörnberg will be one of the chairpersons of the CSTF.

Several members of IOGT International are part of the CSTF for their special expertise:

  • Mr. Boro Goic from our Member Organisation Celebrate Recovery (Bosnia and Herzegovina), for his expertise on “Affected Populations (Former Users)”
  • Ms. Vasilka Lalevska of our European youth network Active – sobriety, friendship and peace, for her expertise on “Affected Populations (Youth)”
  • Mrs. Carmen Fernandez Cáceres from our Member Organisation Centros Integracion Juvenil (CIJ, Mexico), for her expertise on illicit drug issues in Central- and North America, and our very own
  • Mr. Pubudu Sumanasekara (Vice President of IOGT International) from ADIC (Sri Lanka), for his expertise on illicit drug issues in South Asia.

IOGT International will work heart-driven to contribute to dialogue and will support our members and partners in their work with the CSTF in the coming year.

For more information:

The full list of members of the CSTF can be downloaded here: CSTF composition