Presenting author: Augusto Nogueira
Presenting author biography:
Augusto Nogueira, President of ARTM, pioneered the Needle Syringes Programs in Macau, Medal of Merit by the Portuguese Government, Medal of Communities Services by Macau gov. Founder Member of Asia VNGOC Working Group
Finding Common Ground amongst Asia-Pacific Drug Policy Civil Society Organisations
Augusto Nogueira, Penny Hill, Gloria Lai
The Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC), the main link between NGOs and the UNODC, formed an ad-hoc working group of Asia-Pacific members in 2020, based on results from a membership survey. The first initiative of the working group was to lead a regional consultation process with civil society representatives to draft a common agenda and collaborative recommendations from Asia-Pacific NGOs, directed towards local governments and regional drug policy-making bodies.
Intervention: The working group brought together NGOs from across Asia-Pacific to feed into the development of the Common Position paper through three interactive consultative meetings in 2021.
Common Position highlights achievements and challenges from region, and suggests a way forward and call to action for drug policies to be developed and implemented alongside civil society across the Asia-Pacific Region. A range of thematic areas related to drug policy were identified, in relation to: existing international commitments and treaties related to drug policy, ensuring human rights focuses within drug policy, the inclusion of civil society, health (including harm reduction, prevention, treatment and recovery, and access to essential medicines), criminal justice responses (including the removal of criminal sanctions and ending the use of the death penalty in the region), alternative development, and cross-cutting issues.
The Common Position was presented at the 65th CND in March 2022 and has to date been signed on to by more than 80 NGOs. Since then, the Common Position has been presented in a range of international conferences to relevant thematic audiences focused in the prevention field and human rights, and we would like the opportunity to raise awareness of the Common Position to a harm reduction focused audience in our region. The development of the working group and common position have also paved the way for increased membership of the VNGOC in the Pacific Island region.