The period covered by this progress report has been highly eventful, not least because of the recent UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) which was held in April 2016. It is also the year in which IDPC proudly commemorates our 10th anniversary. IDPC was officially founded in 2006 after a small group of civil society organisations identified a need for a global network to coordinate advocacy efforts for drug policy reform. Since then the IDPC membership has grown exponentially in size, diversity of issues, visibility, and influence. We welcomed our 150th member this past year and we are as committed as ever to collective and collaborative advocacy to advance genuine and lasting reform in drug policies. In early 2016, we also finalised our strategy for the coming five years (2016 to 2020) which builds on our work to date and commits us to redouble our efforts in regional and national level networking while ensuring a strong link to the global debates.
The UNGASS has been a central focus of IDPC’s work during these 13 months. It has been a fast-paced year with tandem efforts to ensure civil society visibility and engagement in the UNGASS process, alongside seeking to positively influence the outcome towards ensuring the prominence of health and human rights. With respect to ensuring strong and meaningful civil society participation, there were certainly successes. The UNGASS gave impetus and momentum to the drug policy reform movement, which has grown exponentially in the past three years. Civil society calling for reform was visible and impactful both in the UN setting and outside in the streets, making our voices heard and demanding change. IDPC is proud to play an instrumental role in building this movement and seeking to ensure that newcomers are as well informed and as well-equipped as possible to make an impact. We can be certain that the tone of the debate would have been quite different without the pressure and influence of well-informed civil society organisations.
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