Wednesday, July 23, 2008

UN asks NGOs for our view

A fortnight ago I attended the Vienna NGO Committee UN event that will feed into the review process for the UN’s ten-year drug strategy. With our newly gained accreditation from the UN I was invited to take part with 300 other NGOs to create a consensus document that will contribute (albeit in a very limited way) to the UN review.

In the room were NGOs from supporters of blanket prohibition to those supporting legalisation and regulation. I'm not going to go into the detail of the session, which was tortuous in the extreme, as we went through three draft resolutions line by line and word by word. Only time will tell whether it was worth the time and resources spent on the process. Although it could be the start of a more serious engagement by the UN with civil society.

For some intelligent video footage of NGO participants at the event, see the excellent work of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union: Here and here

Other NGOs have already commented comprehensively in their blogs:

The American Civil Liberties Union

The International Harm Reduction Association

and The US Harm Reduction Coalition

image copyright Steve Rolles

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Drugreporter states: appeared that the opponents of drug policy reform don't really like transparency"

Before the meeting the organizers granted permission for us to use our camera, but on the second day the director of the Vienna NGO Forum asked us to stop filming at the plenary, on the request of an unnamed NGO that was concerned by being filmed.”

Link to Drugreporter

Well, I notice on the Vienna NGO site page entitled Information for Donors that:

"Beyond 2008" has already received significant financial support from the European Commission and the governments of Canada, Hungary, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

All these countries are making every effort to be transparent themselves (cough) and they certainly demand transparency from the organizations they give (our) money to.
One would think therefore, that the official policy of the Vienna NGO Forum would be one of “ If you don't want your presentation to be filmed -–then don't give it.”
After all, if the forum is going to have any meaning it needs to publish the full verbatim text anyway (the text, is I hope, going to be published isn't it?).

I think it would be worth Dugreporter taking this matter up again with the Vienna NGO board, so that the refusal to allow filming this time around does not set a precedent
that carries on into future years.

Hopefully, (our) donor representatives would also give them their full support in this matter.
Why not film the whole thing next time and transmit it on Freeview television. Would be a lot more interesting than coverage of the US elections!

PS Onion News Network has a short piece entitled:
Congress Struggles To Come Up With Cool Name For Anti-Drug Initiative.
One can just imagine it really happening this way.