66TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS, VIENNA AUSTRIA (66THCND2023)
VIRTUAL HUB HELD AT NACADA FROM 13TH-17TH MARCH 2023
- Soberlife International.
- Slum Child Foundation.
- SCAD Kenya.
- Crime Si Poa.
- Kariobangi Hub
- Childspace Organization
Day 1: 13th March 2023. NGO Orientation and briefing on the 66th CND The orientation entailed a summary of plenary meetings, side events, and dialogues that are beneficial to CSOs. The orientation introduced the plenary program and highlighted how the NGO representatives are expected to conduct themselves throughout the CND. The draft resolutions are to be negotiated by member states. Opening session: Key speakers. The 66th CND was officially opened on the 13th of march 2023. There was conducted an orientation of individuals who would be key speakers. It was highlighted by the chairperson of the UNODC that it has supported over 35 countries worldwide to improve their alcohol and drug abuse interventions. In 2022, conducted research reported that 284 million people are using different drugs globally. Another important point noted from the opening session is that prevalent use of cannabis was discovered to be happening amongst adolescents and the general youth. Drug trafficking is a transnational crime. International drug control has been effective in reducing drug use and saving lives. This has enhanced health and has as well promoted human dignity. Policies and laws on drug prevention need to keep up with emerging trends in drug use for instance the emergence of synthetic drugs such as vapes. In response to the legalization of marijuana across various countries the conventional guidelines express that such legalization should be limited to medical use. The Commission for Narcotic Drugs has focused on drug related deaths and reflected on what needs to be done with the rising cases of suicide related to substance use. The program to come up with a need of expanding drug challenges globally. Focusing on rehabilitation and reacting out to young people and those in prisons who are abusing drugs. Drug addicted medication should be available. Early warning subsides for drug and substance abuse. Focus on prevention and rehabilitation for young people and women who are using drugs. Working towards MDGs and fight against illicit drugs in Africa.
Day 2: 14th March 2023. Informal dialogue between OHCHR, UNAID, UNDP, and WHO. Quiz: How does the UN contribute to the midterm review of 2024? By implementing the UN system on Drugs Assigning avenues to engage with UN teams to ensure the UN system is implemented. Mental health has been neglected, a report by WHO “Transforming mental health” showed that only 20% of the world’s population can access resources. WHO needs to draw cross sectional guidelines on mental health and how to enhance especially amongst individuals suffering from drug use-related mental health conditions. The informal dialogues as well highlighted how COVID-19 has affected the mental health of the world population. We analyzed the role of the civil society in conducting different activities involved around substance use like dialogue advocacy and practical guide in implementing prevention. Another take-home is that Civil Society Organizations should nurture safe spaces where young people who use drugs can talk about it without fear of being discriminated against or stigmatized. Challenges raised by Vienna NGO Committee On Drugs. Secretary VNGOC. The challenge is membership participation because in papers they participate well but in implementation they are poor. CSOs should implement projects on the prevention of drugs with or without funds. This starts by starting programs that can be swiftly run even without the presence of donors. Localized context improvisation is key in solving issues of substance use from the community levels. Civil society is given a short time to represent their states. Recommendations by the VNGOC The collaboration of CSOs and civil servants should be healthy and interactive. Member states were urged to start the prevention of drugs at an early age. Celebrating 40 years of increasing meaningful civil society engagement in international drug policy. This side event informed us of the achievements around the works of prevention. It was organized by the VNGOC. New techniques and inventions in terms of modules and curriculums were being translated in a simple way that can be reached by children and people with disability, this is in a bid to leave no one behind. It was noted that CSOs should improve on their reporting and as well implementation of their plan and project. Monitoring was reiterated to be a way of revealing whether the applied interventions are bearing any fruits. Recommendations by VNGOC The CND should draft a clear solution on prevention in relation to substance use amongst vulnerable populations. CSOs should invest in the early stages of intervention in children, specifically infants and pregnant women that abuse drugs.
Day 3: 15th March 2023. We had different dialogues going on during this day and we resolved to assigning each of ourselves from different organizations to take part in different side events. ‘Children whose parents use drugs’ side event. (Charity from Slum Child Foundation and Claire from Crime Si Poa.) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was discussed to happen as a result of physical and sexual abuse and it was very high among females. Treatment should be trauma-informed to avoid it from happening again. Feeling unloved/ neglected during childhood was a major cause of trauma among children. Child emotional neglect was found to be more significant than physical abuse and consequently has been realized to be driving these children to substance use. ‘The role of young people in fighting addiction and prevention of the risk of addiction.’ (Janepher from Child Space Organization)- Organized by Green Crescent Measures put so far; University students are enrolled in ‘Young Green Crescent’ movement where this program teaches transference techniques and effective presentation skills. School programs - Life skills program that ensures students lead a life free from the risk of developing addiction, and acquire positive behavioral changes and habits through activities that enable them to protect themselves from risky environments and behaviors. Debate tournament - it was started as a healthy and interesting alternative for high school students. Youth camp program - its main aim is to encourage young people to spend their time in various social, cultural, and sports activities and to stay away from addictions. International green crescent cartoon - it helps to display the devastating effects addiction have on people and society from the perspective of cartoonists around the world. ‘Active dialogue in preventing illicit drug use’ (Erick from SCAD and Cleophas from Child Space Organization). Public sector healthcare service providers have a key role in promoting healthy lifestyles through health education. It is evident that young people are at high risk of using drugs. Consequently, there is a need for communication with young people in settings such as schools to enhance healthy lifestyles. Synthetic drugs are finding their way into the market. More support for member states in social protection and improving the youth friendly services is key in the engagement of youth on matters of ADA.
Day 4: 16th March 2023 We were able to participate in several dialogues and these were some of the key points and remarks. The representative of civil society in the CND has a significant obligation in presenting ideas to keep UNODC working to improve interventions. The CSOs have a role to play in Global Drug policy to improve prevention initiatives. George (Slum Child Foundation), attending virtually from Boston in the United States highlighted the significance of collaboration with the CSOs in participation in the mid-term review.
Day 5: 17th March 2023 The community work of non-governmental organizations focusing on cultural and art themes as a component of drug control policy. Remarks recorded; Art is a powerful means of expression that gives people an opportunity to express themselves in an artistic way focused on the prevention of drug use. Art is used as a form to assure young people that there are other forms of having fun other than drug consumption. Art also builds self-esteem and restores feelings of guilt. Vocational training creates means of livelihood for young people using or recovering from drugs. The above are some of the engagements we have successfully been part of in this session of the CND In conclusion, as people working in the field mitigating matters of substance use, we do not have a choice other than to widen our scope in order for us to get popular with the contemporary issues of drug use. We must pay special attention to the vulnerable and most at risk populations, seek more partnerships with those in line with what we are doing, and adopt interventions backed by scientific research. We are indeed taking a lot to our respective organizations from this 66th Session of the CND and we express our sincerest gratitude to all who have contributed to its success, and to ourselves being part of it.