World Federation Against Drugs will hosted the 5th World Forum Against Drugs in Vienna, Austria, March 12-13, 2016.
2016 is a special year in international drug policy. On 19-21 April, 2016, the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem will take place. This is the biggest meeting on the world drug problem in almost 20 years. Member states and the civil society began the preparation for the UNGASS meeting as early as 2012. The board tasked by the CND secretariat with the preparations of the UNGASS, has from the outset, greatly welcomed the input of the civil society and especially asked for experience grass-roots organizations. The members of WFAD are active in all the spheres of the drug problem and have a lot to offer the UNGASS process. The board of WFAD has therefore decided to host the 5th Forum in connection with the 59tn CND in Vienna, Austria.
The aim of the Forum was twofold; to share the knowledge and experience of the members with each other and bring in new knowledge and experience in form of research; and to gather the best practices to also be put forward to the member states at the CND meeting. We also aim to invite some of the member states involved in the UNGASS process to participate at the Forum.
The development of the capacity to protect children from illicit drugs in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 33) is assessed as one of the key areas to focus on by the board of WFAD.
“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances.”
The best way to protect children is to make sure that they grow up in an environment free from illicit drugs. There is a need to expand the drug free zones as well as improving strategies to implement early interventions.
WFAD strongly believes that prevention should be the first priority in drug policy, both from a local, national and international perspective. Environmental strategies and programs that discourage the use of drugs and reduce the availability of drugs are central to any drugs policy. Environmental strategies should be supplemented by education and evidence based prevention, as well as more targeted interventions that reach high risk groups and problem drug users. Community based strategies that promote drug-free environments and supportive social norms, are shown to reduce the use of both legal and illegal substances.
The focus areas for the Forum was therefore be:
I. The protection of the rights of the child from the illicit use of drugs
II. Prevention strategies