Identifying Common Ground on Development for UNGASS 2016

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  • DATE / TIME:
    2015•05•06    10:00 - 12:45
    New York

    As the UN General Assembly Special Session in New York on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016) approaches, there is a need to consider how global development and drug policy goals can better be aligned with the work of the UN system. This event will precede the 7 May 2015 High-Level Thematic Debate in support of the process towards UNGASS 2016, which will, inter alia, consider “implementing a multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder approach in addressing the world drug problem”.

    About the panel discussion

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has identified that illicit drugs and crime “are a severe impediment” to achieving sustainable development, but what does a development approach to global drug policy mean in practice? Local community development strategies designed to mitigate the impacts of illicit crop eradication (‘alternative development’) have gained prominence in the drug policy agenda over the last decade. At the same time, some actors have begun to suggest a need to think beyond the ‘alternative development’ approach, factoring the broader costs of drug policies — such as impacts on public health, human development, corruption or the environment — into the design and execution not only of drugs policy, but also national-level and international development planning and programming. A broader development approach to drug policy may deliver more effective policies and practices for ‘putting the human being at the centre of drug policy’.

    The panel

    The panel will include contributions from Member States, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Dr. Kendra McSweeney (Ohio State University). As Member States begin to consider what ‘operational recommendations’ should be considered at UNGASS 2016, panelists will consider a series of questions intended to help identify potential common ground on development issues:

    • How does a development approach factor the broader costs of drug policies — such as impacts on public health, human development, corruption or the environment — into development and drug policy design and execution?
    • How might UNGASS provide an opportunity for a formal discussion about system-wide coherence for drug policy? What ‘operational recommendations’ could be considered at UNGASS 2016 to move global drug policy towards greater system-wide coherence?
    • What metrics could be developed to measure the impact of drug control policies on development, human rights, and security issues?

    Speakers will include:

    Ms Mandeep Dhaliwal, Director, HIV, Health & Development Group, Bureau for Policy & Programme Support, United Nations Development Programme

    Mr. Rodrigo Vélez, National Secretary for the Council on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Control Board, Ecuador

    Mr Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director, Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, UNODC

    Dr. Kendra McSweeney, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Ohio State University

    M.L. Dispanadda Diskul, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage, Thailand

    A moderated Q&A session will follow the panel.

    See the Related Files tab to download the panel discussion’s concept note.


    Advance registration (by 29 April) is suggested. Please note, however, that space is limited and the event may not be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend. Participants needing a UN grounds pass can pick it up upon entry to the event at the UN visitor’s entrance on 45th street and 1st Avenue starting at 9:30 am. Should you need a UN grounds pass, please register at least one week prior to the event to guarantee entry.

    To view a webcast of the event, please click here.


    United Nations Headquarters
    General Assembly Building
    Conference Room 8


  • Ms. Summer Walker
    Drug Policy Project Manager
    Tel: +1-212-963-6346