This week I’m in Vienna at the United Nations. This United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) was established on January, 1 in 1980 as the third United Nations Headquarters after New York and Geneva (and before Nairobi). But what am I doing here?

First of all, I’m not on my own. I’m here together with the President of IOGT International, Kristina.

Our Executive Director Esbjörn – although he is here in his function as Acting Chair of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) – is of course present.

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And a delegation of IOGT International members consisting of Carmen (CIJ) from Mexico, Rogers (UYDEL) from Uganda, IOGT Thailand, Dag (FORUT) from Norway, Kjell-Ove (IOGT-NTO) from Sweden, as well as our young members from Active – sobriety, friendship and peace is here to stand up for the IOGT message and vision.

And now, you obviously wonder what it is that we’re all here for.

The 58th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND2015)

This year’s CND2015 includes a special segment on the preparation for the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016) to be held in 2016. The CND2015 takes place between March 9 to 17, and the special segment takes place between March 9 to 12.

This is an important moment in history for IOGT International and all those who care for a drug-free world because well-financed forces have been mounting aggressive lobbying campaigns to open up the UN Conventions on drugs, in order to allow for legalisation and decriminalisation of illicit drugs. And so, we are working heart-driven to push back, and to outline a better alternative: we call it “the third way”.

During this week, we will be advocating for the protection of children and youth, women and developing countries, like Sri Lanka, from the increasing burden of illicit drugs and from the threats posed by legalisation of illicit drugs so that some could earn more profits while most others would suffer from the impending harm.

Our advocacy consists of a number of different activities:

  1. Our President Kristina participates in two high-level panels, one today and one on Wednesday.
  2. We organise a Side Event on a crucial topic, on Wednesday morning.
  3. We advocate for the promotion and protection of children’s rights to grow up free from drugs and we advocate for a robust use of evidence-based prevention measures as part of the response to the world drug problem.

The IOGT International Narcotic Drugs Policy

Our new Narcotic Drugs Policy is here, and in Vienna at the CND2015.

IOGT International stands for a comprehensive and integrated approach to narcotic drugs policy making. Our advocacy starts from a Child Rights-centered approach because we believe that the prevention of drug-related harm is a fundamental right and a core duty of any government.

IOGT International’s vision is a life for all human beings free to live up to their fullest potential, and free from harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. It is a world of peace, democracy and justice where free and healthy citizens actively contribute in all levels of society.

2 Statements, 2 brand new booklets

With regards to advocacy, I’m glad to share brand new productions with you:

  1. Our six key proposals for the UNGASS 2016 process, as outlined in Kristina’s statement on behalf of the Member Organisations of IOGT International at the 4th Civil Society Hearing.
  2. Our Statement on Drugs and Human Rights, Youth, Women, Children and Communities
  3. Our brand new booklet about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Illicit Drugs:

“WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE CHILDREN IS GOOD FOR THE WORLD. A Child Rights-centered approach to prevention of drug-related harm”

Also FORUT Norway has produced a brand new booklet: “Start with prevention”

We hope with these materials to be able to contribute to the conversation and to continue our dialogue with a number of governments and the UNODC.

Our CND2015 Side Event on Cannabis legalisation

On Wednesday, Kristina will also moderate our Side Event with the topic:

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This year, we organise it together with World Forum against Drugs, Slum Child Foundation, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).

I’m proud of the impressive line-up of speakers we have at the Side Event again this year, such as

  • Peter Allebeck, MD, Ph.D. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Kevin M. Gray, MD AACAP, Canada and
  • Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D. SAM, US

I’d also like to point your attention to Active’s Side Event here at CND2015 on Tuesday morning, with the topic:

EUROBAROMETER FINDINGS ON THE SITUATION ON DRUGS IN EUROPE — THROUGH THE EYES OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH ORGANIZATONS, organized by Active – sobriety, friendship and peace and Europe Against Drugs in partnership with the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis.

Myself, I am here because I’m nominated for the Civil Society Task Force. You can read about it in Maik’s blog from February.

So, we have a packed agenda, difficult tasks and aggressive adversaries in our heart-driven mission for a drug-free world. But we also have a lot of partners and friends, many governments who trust us and the vast majority of people around the world who wish for a live free from illicit drugs. We have hope.

If you want to follow our work and the proceedings of the CND 2015, you can do so live via webcast and on Twitter. And here is the Programme of Side Events and the list of documents for CND2015.

Sources and evidence for our positions:

Dahlgren & Stere (2012) The Protection of Children from Illicit Drugs – A Minimum Human Rights Standard. A Child- centered vs. a User-centered Drug Policy
Download as PDF here.

Dahlgren & Stere (2010) The right of children to be protected from Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic substances. A Human Right/ International law perspective.
Download as PDF here.

Start with prevention – the most effective way to reduce drug harm (2015) Booklet by FORUT – Campaign for Develop- ment and Solidarity
Download as PDF here.

Download our material for free:

You can download the IOGT International Statement from the Interactive discussion on high-level segment: Five Points – Illicit Drugs and Human Rights Issues  

You can also download the IOGT International Slides attached to the Statement: IOGT International Statement on Slides 4 CND2015 Statement_ HR & Drugs policy

IOGT International Narcotic Drugs Policy

IOGT International Booklet on Illicit Drugs & Child Rights:
WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE CHILDREN IS GOOD FOR THE WORLD. A Child Rights-centered approach to prevention of drug-related harm

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