10 Things that Canada needs to push for at the United Nations

This April 19 – 21 the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs, (UNGASS) will be taking place in New York City and we want Canada to support a significant rethink of global drug policy at the UN. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the world is coming together to discuss issues related to drugs as a global community. This is a chance for us to make sure that the future of drug policy moves in a progressive direction, away from criminalization and towards one that is committed to public health.

But here’s the thing — negotiations on what could be the outcome of this meeting have not been going well. The forces within the UN system that want to maintain the status quo and thwart change have risen to the occasion. They are making it almost impossible to insert any progressive language into what will be the outcome document of this important UNGASS.  

CDPC and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network have outlined 10 key recommendations that we’ve asked the Canadian delegation to push for in these negotiations. To read a summary of our policy document, please click here.

10 things would change the game if all countries were to:

1. Promote and implement a public health and human rights approach to drugs, based on evidence;

2. Support harm reduction as a key component of a comprehensive response to drugs;

3. Pursue the decriminalization of possession of all drugs for personal use;

4. Support countries’ flexibility to experiment with alternative, health-oriented approaches to drugs;

5. Respect, protect and promote human rights;

6. Ensure full access to essential medicines;

7. Ensure diverse representation at key international meetings on drugs;

8. Reject ill-conceived and unrealistic demands for a “drug-free world”;

9. Promote and adopt more comprehensive, sophisticated indicators to evaluate drug policy; and

10. Establish a post-UNGASS mechanism that will ensure a full review of current drug policies. 

We are asking your organization to join us by endorsing our 10 recommendations to the Government of Canada listed above. (We are currently seeking only organizational endorsements, not those from individuals.) It is important that the Canadian government hear the voices of the diversity of Canada’s civil society, and take our recommendations seriously as they head to this key event in April. 

And please share this with your networks so we can get as many organizations signing on as possible before April 8. Thanks for your help.

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