CSSDP has officially launched their first involvement in international drug policy! Thanks to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (http://www.aidslaw.ca/), CSSDP has secured two seats to attend the 57th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) & High-Level Segment. This meeting will be taking place in Vienna, Austria from March 13 to March 21.
Why is the meeting so important?
Every year, international leaders from around the globe meet, along with the participation of civil society organizations, to debate drug policies. This year’s meeting includes the High-Level Segment, during which member states will review the progress made, and the challenges encountered, since the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on the World Drug Problem. The main focus of the High-Level Segment will be the negotiation of a ‘Joint Ministerial Statement’, as well as recording member states’ views of progress. The High-Level Segment only occurs once every ten years. It is especially important this year, as it will set the stage the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), which is hoped to be a turning point for the UN Drug Conventions.
2013 saw the first direct violations of the UN Drug Conventions by Washington State and Colorado and by Uruguay through the legalization and creation of a regulated market for cannabis. Although the United States can argue that they are still in compliance with the UN Drug Conventions, as signatory countries are required to comply with the conventions subject to their constitutional limitations, their role (and the perception of their role) as father, designer, and main supporter of the international drug control regime is sure to change. Uruguay’s overt violation of the conventions will surely generate varied responses, although their defense and how other states will respond remains to be seen. This is an incredibly important meeting, as it will reflect the changes that have been occurring in drug policy reform internationally.
Who is representing CSSDP?
Lisa Campbell is the Outreach Director for CSSDP. As the former TRIP! Coordinator and having worked as the manager of a needle exchange, Lisa has worked with a diversity of young people who use drugs and continues to advocate for drug policy reform across the globe. She has a plethora of experience in drug policy reform, having served as the Senior North American Representative for Youth RISE’s International Working Group, and her knowledge on drug policy reform, current international legislation and its effects on young people who use drugs will be a valuable contribution to the CND.
Nazlee is the Chair of the Board of Directors for CSSDP. Nazlee’s specific interest and expertise is in the international drug control regime and the UN Drug Conventions. She is a Master of Global Affairs student at the University of Toronto and is therefore quite familiar with international policymaking. She first became interested in drug policy reform when she heard Donald MacPherson speak at a conference during her time as a Commerce student at Queen’s University. Nazlee is super excited to be attending this meeting, as it is an exceptional opportunity to see what she has studied so closely in practice!
What will CSSDP be doing while in Vienna?
CSSDP will blog every day on what they are witnessing and learning in Vienna by summarizing, analyzing, and reflecting on all the events they attend. Please check back regularly to stay up to date on what is happening in Vienna!
CSSDP will be participating in a side event presentation with members of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) from around the world and members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The title of this side event is “Protecting Youth with Drug Policy: Prohibition Has Failed.” For those in attendance at the meeting, the side event will take place on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 from 1:10 PM to 2:00 PM in Conference Room MOE100.
Nazlee will be acting as a guest blogger for the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC). Check out their blog at http://www.cndblog.org for detailed information about the meeting and all the preparatory sessions that have taken place!