Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Transform at CND in Vienna

As Steve Rolles heads off for California, I am at the UN's annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna for which Transform has ECOSOC special consultative status.

UN buildings in Vienna*

We are here as more than just spectators. In addition to attending a range of meetings that I will report on over the next few days, we have co-organised our own event, as part of the rapidly growing campaign for an Impact Assessment of drug policy, with our colleagues at the International Drug Policy Consortium. We are particularly pleased Carel Edwards the Head of the EC's Anti-Drugs Policy Unit has agreed to speak, as well as the Chair of IDPC Mike Trace, and myself (details below).

I would also recommend checking out the live CNDblog run by IHRA and IDPC which will provide regular  independent updates and reporting throughoutthe CND. IHRAs HR2 blog will also be reporting daily (report on Day 1 is already up)

CND 2010 side event -Time for an Impact Assessment of Drug Policy

10 Mar 2010
Vienna, Austria

All stakeholders in the drugs debate share the goal of a policy and legal structures that maximise social, environmental, physical and psychological wellbeing. Particularly at a time of economic stricture, it is also crucial that drug policy expenditures are cost-effective. Yet despite the many billions of dollars in drug-related spending each year, there are great concerns about the outcomes of the current approach, at the domestic and international level.

However, the debate around improving drug policy has been emotive, polarised and deadlocked. Proponents of different views of the best way forward tend to focus on the arguments and evidence that support their perspective. In this context, national governments and international agencies need to take a structured approach to assessing the best mix of evidence-based drug policies to promote human development, human security and human rights. Impact Assessment methodologies provide a potential mechanism for conducting an independent, neutral analysis that all stakeholders can support. These methodologies have been used to great effect in other policy areas, comparing the economic, environmental and social costs and benefits of existing policies against a full range of alternatives. For an Impact Assessment of drug policy, these alternatives should include more intensive/punitive enforcement approaches, as well as options for decriminalisation of personal use, and models for legal regulation of drug production and supply.
This introductory event on Impact Assessment will consist of short presentations and a Question and Answer session covering:
  • How Impact Assessments can help;
  • How Impact Assessments might be commissioned and structured, both nationally and internationally;
  • Opportunities and Barriers; and
  • Impact Assessment of drug policy and the EU.
  • Carel Edwards, Head of the EC Anti-Drugs Policy Unit, DG JLS
  • Mike Trace, Chair of IDPC
  • Martin Powell, Campaigns Manager, Transform Drug Policy Foundation.
* pic: Steve Rolles 2008


Anonymous said...

Good luck with your great work! I'm sure it will pay back.

Steve Rolles said...

oh look - we've been clocked by Melanie Phillips. http://bit.ly/briTRc.