Preparations are gathering pace for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, to be held on the 19th to 21st April 2016 in New York. Following several months of discussion on procedural elements, attention is now focused on negotiating the content of the “short, substantive, concise and action-orientated outcome document comprising a set of operational recommendations” to be approved by the General Assembly next April.

At the CND intersessional meeting on 12th June, countries and regional groups were invited to submit their first ideas for what could be included in this Outcome Document, by a deadline of 11th September. The USA were the first country to respond to the request by drafting (and, notably, disseminating widely for comments) their “Nonpaper: UNGASS on Drugs” on 24th June. The European Union had already presented a set of twenty recommendations for the UNGASS Outcome Document at the General Assembly High-Level Thematic Debate on 7th May in New York, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) agreed an initial ‘common vision’ for the UNGASS at the ministerial meeting in Quito on 21st and 22nd May.

The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) – a network of more than 140 NGOs from around the world – has been following the UNGASS preparations closely, and has already provided recommendations for the substantive issues across the breadth of drug policy that should  be considered during the UNGASS debates. To further support this process, this Advocacy Note presents specific recommendations from the Consortium regarding the structure and content of the Outcome Document, incorporating some reflections on the positions taken thus far by the EU, CELAC and the USA. We hope that member states will consider these in their deliberations, and in their own national or regional submissions and negotiations.

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