Next year, 2016, brings an unprecedented opportunity for the UN General Assembly to review world drug policy during the Special Session to be held 19-21 April in New York.
World drug policy directly affects palliative care, because it frames policies that control national, regional and local access to internationally controlled essential medicines such as morphine and other opioid analgesics.
This UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem will include the voices of civil society organisations through the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF), a 27-member body that includes representatives for all the world’s regions, as well as “affected populations”. A full list of members and a background document on the CSTF can be found online.
The CSTF appointed me, as Advocacy Officer for International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), to represent populations affected by lack of access to internationally controlled essential medicines such as opioid analgesics and methadone.
Prior to the UNGASS, and by the end of July 2015, CSTF members have been asked to collect information from partners for a baseline survey/questionnaire regarding what they know about UNGASS and which outcomes they hope for and expect.
We ask you to please fill out this survey/questionnaire which can be found online.
We have prepared a cover letter to assist you in answering questions regarding our sector’s response to the survey, with some text about what those of us who advocate at the international level, would like to see result from the process and from the event itself. It is meant just as a rough guide for your thinking, and not as a text to be reproduced verbatim. Please email me at[email protected] to request a copy.
For more background information, please see the text of Resolution 58/8, which describes the format for the session, and outlines expectations for member state and civil society participation.
As you will see from the resolution, the UNGASS will include five roundtables on drug related issues, one of which (Drugs and Health) will include improving access to essential controlled medicines. Civil society representatives are expected to participate in those roundtables.
Please take time in the next week, to fill out the survey (it should not take more than half an hour of your time), submit it in through the link, and let me know that you have taken it.
You can also send your responses, as well as any other thoughts you may have on the process, to me at [email protected].
There will be a further contact period during the summer and afterwards, to gather more information and support for our strategy.
Thank you in advance for participating in this important exercise!