24 January 2017 - The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out a bright vision for lifting billions out of poverty and for ensuring that everyone has a better future. Contained within the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is a parallel recognition that their achievement is reliant on international cooperation. This is affirmed by Goal 17 of the 2030 Agenda stating that the SDG's can only be realized with a strong commitment to global partnership.
To help achieve this goal, UNODC has forged longstanding relationships, both in Vienna and globally, with numerous stakeholders, particularly civil society. It has close ties with the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC), which has led to broad cooperation on issues related to illicit drugs, including health and HIV.
Both UNODC and VGNOC are committed to furthering their cooperation to ensure the successful implementation of the outcome document resulting from the April 2016 UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem (also known as UNGASS).
This document reinforces the importance of drug prevention and treatment, as well as other priorities such as access to controlled medicines for pain relief, and mainstreaming issues of gender and youth into drug related policies and programmes. Supply reduction also forms an essential element and the document calls for criminal justice and law enforcement responses that adhere to the principles of proportionality, human rights and the rule of law.
Against this background, Yury Fedotov, the UNODC Executive Director and Esbjörn Hörnberg the chair of VNGOC met to sign a memorandum of understanding. Speaking after the signing, Mr. Fedotov said, "I warmly welcome the signing of the memorandum, it will deepen cooperation between UNODC and VNGOC, strengthen work already being done to implement the UNGASS outcome document and ensure that we work towards Goal 17. The partnership also reaffirms what we know already to be true: We cannot succeed in achieving our mandate on drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism without the support and partnership of civil society around the world"
Responding, Mr. Hörnberg said, "Signing the MoU is another important step in defining the partnership between UNODC and global civil society working in the field of drug policy. VNGOC is looking forward to using that cooperation to further its mission of involving a wide sector of civil society in contributing to the development of balanced global drug policies in the context of Agenda 2030."
Under the agreement, UNODC and VGNOC committed themselves to countering the "newly emerging issues in the fields of drug policy, strategy and control and related dimensions, such as health, crime, human rights, alternative development, new psychoactive substances (NPS), international cooperation alternative development, among others."
UNODC and VGNOC have worked together over a number of years, including the 'Beyond 2008' initiative which set out to provide the Vienna-based Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) with the experience of NGOs in achieving the targets set by the 1998 UNGASS and to offer proposals for the principles to govern future action and the engagement of all stakeholders in the development of drug control measures and activities.
The signing of the memorandum took place during the first Intersessional meeting of the 60th session of the CND which is taking place from 23-25 January 2017. Twenty-one NGO representatives are expected to speak at the meeting.