Participation of civil society in work of Vienna-based functional Commissions of ECOSOC grows exponentially

Photo: UNODC

Vienna (Austria), 19 June 2020 - The Vienna-based functional Commissions, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ), bring together experts from Member States, UN entities, regional and international organization and civil society to discuss matters pertaining to the different aspects of drugs and crime.

Recognizing the need to promote strong partnerships with civil society organizations in dealing with the complex challenges related to drugs and crime, civil society is a key partner in the implementation of international policy commitments on the ground.

The participation of civil society in the work of the Commissions has grown exponentially over the past decade. From 2010 to 2019 the number of civil society representatives has quadrupled in the regular sessions of the CND and tripled for the CCPCJ regular sessions.

Civil society organizations are indispensable partners, delivering key services on the ground, and providing invaluable contributions to policies. Through building bridges between organizations and supportive effective action on the ground, civil society organizations play an important role in the international community’s efforts to address challenges related to drugs and crime.

While supporting the Commissions, the Secretariat is constantly working to further enhance the contributions of all interested stakeholders, including through enabling remote participation and through providing online platforms to share expertise and contributions. Side events held in the margins of the Commissions’ regular sessions provide another opportunity for civil society to engage with policy makers, to raise awareness and share their expertise in addressing local, regional and international challenges.



Civil society is also actively involved in the intersessional work of the Commissions, such as the CND’s thematic sessions to accelerate the implementation of all international drug policy commitments. Initiated after the adoption of the 2016 UNGASS outcome document, these annual thematic discussions bring together experts from Member States, UN entities, international and regional organizations to exchange on good practices and challenges in implementing drug policy commitments. Coordinated through the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, there is a standing seat for civil society experts in the expert panel discussions for the thematic discussions. Since the first round of CND thematic discussions on the UNGASS implementation in autumn 2016, around 400 Member States’ interventions were made, and around 130 representatives of civil society addressed the Commission. In over 130 contributions, experts from various UN, international and regional partners, including UNODC, UN-Women, WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, OHCHR, Universal Postal Union (UPU), INCB, Interpol, Europol, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Council of Europe, OSCE, the European Union, and the Organization of American States (OAS), contributed to the Commission’s discussions.