UNODC to organize regional preparatory meeting in São Paulo for UNGASS 2016


São Paulo, 22 June, 2015 - From the 22nd to the 23rd of June the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is organizing the São Paulo Regional Dialogue on Drug Policies and HIV. The meeting is part of a series of regional discussions about drug policy and HIV which is being organized by the UNODC throughout 2015 in preparation for the  Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) 2016 and for the High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2016.

In light of this, the objective of the event is to offer technical assistance to participants to contribute to the ongoing regional, national, and international level discussions during the period leading up the UNGASS on Drugs and the High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS in 2016.

Various government representatives in the field of drugs and HIV from ten Latin America and Caribbean nations, UN representatives, and members of civil society attended the event.


The Representative from the Liaison and Partnership Office of UNODC in Brazil, Rafael Franzini, underlined the importance of these regional dialogues insomuch as they have provided a fundamental framework for the discussion and preparation by the government and by civil society which has shaped UNGASS 2016.

Also participating in the opening panel will be the National Secretariat on Drug Policy in Brazil, Vitore Maximiano, who has underlined the importance of the debate on the connection between criminals convicted of drug-related crimes and imprisonment- a topic which is very applicable to this region- and the Director of the Department of STD/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis from the Ministry of Health in Brazil, Fabio Mesquita, who is key to organizing debates in Latin America in order to give visibility to matters associated with the use of non-injection drugs in global public policy.

Fabienne Hariga, senior specialist on the HIV team at UNODC headquarters in Vienna, presented a global panorama on HIV in people who use injection drugs.

Subsequently, representatives from government bodies and from civil society presented the regional panorama. 

One of the representatives from civil society, Aura Roig, said that the network of people who use drugs must be further legitimized, and explicitly articulating the points that the state needs to address is key to handling the phenomenon that is drug use from the point-of-view of a democratic society that respects human rights. Furthermore, she underlined how crucial it is that people who use drugs participate in decision making concerning drug policies and intervention programs. It is important to formulate an effective model for participation and representation. Civil society organizations must have broader areas of expertise and a greater influence when it comes to making decisions, Aura added.

Further information

Between January and December of 2015, seven regional dialogues will be taking place regarding Drug Policies and HIV in the following regions: Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Southeast Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Countries participating in the regional consultations and development of agendas are always selected in close cooperation with the relevant partners, including regional and global civil society organizations and 5 UN agencies (UNODC - United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; UNDP - United Nations Development Programme; UNAIDS -Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; WHO - World Health Organization; and the WBI - World Bank Institute).

We thank our UN Online Volunteer, Aaron Kircher, for his contribution to the translation of this article. Aaron, is an online volunteer mobilized through

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