Sub-Saharan Africa, 24 September - 6 October 2015/India, 31 October 2015 - The Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem in 2016 undertook national and regional consultations in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. During these meetings, civil society organisations (CSOs) working on drug related issues were informed of the ongoing preparatory process for UNGASS 2016 and were introduced to the work of the CSTF. This was complemented by fruitful discussions on the five proposed thematic areas of UNGASS 2016.
CSTF and NGO delegates, Regional Consultation
The consultations took place in Accra, Ghana (24-25 September 2015), Dakar, Senegal (28-29 September 2015), Lilongwe, Malawi (2-3 October 2015), Nairobi, Kenya (5-6 October 2015) and New Delhi, India (31 October 2015). During the discussions, CSO representatives provided further input to the CSTF recommendations to the UNGASS Zero Draft, submitted to the UNGASS Board in September 2015. UNODC ROSEN, ROEA and ROSA provided support to the CSTF regional representatives in organising these meetings and participated in the discussions.
Among others, the operational recommendations made included the need for an evidence and rights based approach to drug policy; accessibility of treatment and health services for drug users; prioritizing the protection of the child in drug policy decisions; considering social and cultural factors when designing drug policies, as well as the special needs of youth and women; the need for crop substitution programs for farmers engaged in cannabis and khat cultivation (the predominant illicit substances in Sub-Saharan Africa); and effective engagement of communities and civil society with governments on drug related issues.
CSTF and NGO delegates, National Consultation
The CSTF regional representatives also met with counterparts in relevant governmental agencies and international organizations. The aim of these meetings was to inform about the role of the CSTF in the UNGASS process, as well as the need for grassroots CSO participation in the UNGASS preparatory process and in its follow-up.
Furthermore, in Dakar, Mr. Eze Eluchie, CSTF Representative for Sub-Saharan Africa and Mr. Lamin Traore from the Senegalese Réseau Africain contre la Drogue, les Violences et le Sida participated in the morning program Kenkilibaa of the Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise, where they introduced the CSTF and its activities in preparation for UNGASS 2016.
As soon as available, the full reports of these meetings will be posted on this web page.