CSTF Contribution to the Preparatory Process of and at the UNGASS 2016
As the official civil society liaison to the United Nations (UN) for UNGASS 2016, the CSTF has carried out the below activities:
A. Civil society speakers were identified for meetings and events organised by the UN General Assembly (High-level thematic debate in support of the process towards the UNGASS, 7 May 2015; Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation (IISC) in support of the preparatory process for the UNGASS, 10 February 2016; UNGASS plenary and roundtables), the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNGASS Segment, 58th CND, March 2015 and 59th CND, March 2016) and the CSTF (listed further below). The selection of speakers was based on regional representation, thematic and gender balance.
Furthermore, the CSTF coordinated with the CND, UNODC, the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA) and the NGO Branch of the UN DESA on matters related to civil society participation, in particular in the run-up to the UNGASS. Among other things, the CSTF funded the participation of selected civil society speakers in the IISC and the UNGASS plenary and roundtables, managed all logistical details related to their participation, and provided them and other civil society representatives guidance on how best to engage in the UNGASS process.
B. The Global Civil Society Survey was a web-based survey which was circulated via email and social media throughout the networks of the CSTF, the UNODC Civil Society Team, and the UNODC Field Office network, between 21 April and 31 July 2015. The survey was answered by over 800 NGOs from all around the globe. The preliminary report summarised data from the English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Italian, Persian, Turkish and some Spanish surveys, as translations from Arabic, French, Russian and some Spanish were not yet available at the time it was written. The preliminary results were compiled into specific recommendations and were provided to Member States in early September 2015 to support the negotiations on the draft UNGASS outcome document.
C. Regional and thematic consultations were held by all CSTF members (see summaries and full-length reports below). While some consultations were held as in-person meetings of relevant civil society stakeholders, others were conducted electronically, though online meetings and questionnaires.
D. Together with the OPGA, organized an Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation in support of the preparatory process for the UNGASS two months prior to UNGASS, a summary of which was tabled as a document of the UNGASS process. This event took place on 10 February 2016 at the United Nations in New York. The President of the General Assembly's (PGA) summary of the meeting was transmitted to the 59th CND and was considered as one of the official documents of the preparatory process of the UNGASS (E/CN.7/2016/CRP.5).
The CSTF Steering Committee worked with the Office of the PGA on finalizing the organizational details, establishing criteria for the selection of speakers and participants, selecting the speakers and seeing to all logistical details related to their participation in the event. The meeting featured two roundtables under the heading of drugs and health and drugs and human rights. Participants from a wide range of civil society, representatives of Member States and United Nations entities were involved in an interactive discussion on issues related to these themes.
E. After the official launch of the CSTF in Vienna on 3 December 2014, the CSTF has convened, or members of the Steering Committee have participated in the meetings below, all of which were part of the UNGASS preparatory process. In addition to these, CSTF members participated in all CND intersessional meetings leading up to the UNGASS and delivered statements on each occasion.
Through the above activities, the CSTF fulfilled its role as official liaison between the United Nations and civil society in the preparatory process of and at the UNGASS on the world drug problem in 2016 and played a key role in ensuring a comprehensive, structured, meaningful and balanced participation of civil society during this process.
The activities targeted three main groups:
- Civil society representatives: representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) were offered the opportunity to contribute to the global drug policy debate by completing the CSTF online survey, applying for speaker roles at relevant meetings, and participating in the regional and thematic consultations. Over 800 NGOs completed the online survey, around 30 representatives of organisations were given the opportunity to speak at UNGASS preparatory events. Furthermore, over 200 organisations participated in the in-person and online regional and thematic consultations. This target group responded very positively and enthusiastically to the CSTF activities, as they allowed them to make their voices heard at a global policy level.
- Member States representatives: Member States were targeted as recipients of the outputs of the CSTF activities. The zero draft stemming from the global civil society survey was disseminated to all Permanent Missions to the United Nations in Vienna to support their decision-making processes towards UNGASS. Member States representatives were invited to and participated in all events and meetings hosted by the CSTF.
- United Nations entities: both the UNGASS Board and the OPGA have praised in their statements the role played by the CSTF in ensuring a comprehensive, structured, meaningful and balanced participation of civil society during the preparatory process and at the UNGASS (joint activities in 2016, in the immediate run-up to the UNGASS).