On 29th and 30th of September 2015, UNODC conducted a two-day consultation for West Africa in Dakar. Delegates from nine countries - Angola, Cameroun, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal - represented by heads of drug control agencies attended the dialogue.
Representatives from UNAIDS, WHO and International Drug Policy Consortium, harm reduction network among other civil society representatives also participated in the event.
The main objective of the consultation was to equip and strengthen capacity of countries to effectively contribute to the ongoing discussions at national, regional and international levels in the run up to U N General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem and to the High Level Meeting on Ending HIV/AIDS in 2016.
The meeting specifically addressed drug policies and their impact on the HIV epidemic, through an open discussion between government policy makers and civil society organisations with the support and participation of UN representatives.
Participants shared country experiences, best practices, vibrant discussion and debate between government policy makers and civil society representatives.
The dialogue come against the background of the recently adopted Sustainable developmental goals (SDGs). Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and Goal 10 reduced inequalities are particularly key to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Member states need to work on the recently adopted sustainable development goals for the next 15 years. The SDGs are key to an effective response to the HIV epidemic among drug users, and will be part of the discussions and the UNGASS 2016', said Pierre Lapaque, UNODC the West and Central Africa representative.
The dialogue helped participants to understand the priority issues around people who inject drugs and the contribution required by the countries for the April UNGASS 2016.
Countries have resolved to actively engage in the UNGASS process and make meaningful representation of the issues that concerns the West Africa Region.
Photo: UNODC Dakar