Vienna, 26 February 2019 - Addressing the complex issues of drug abuse and crime and their harmful effects on society requires strong partnerships with civil society organizations at local, national, regional and global levels.

As part of its engagement with these important stakeholders, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today hosted a Global Civil Society Hearing in Vienna to update Member States on the results of a recent global civil society consultation on drugs. The Hearing was organized by the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) and supported by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in Vienna.

The hearing, with the title 'Voices of Civil Society: Beyond 2019' also provided a space for civil society experts from around the world to present their work on the ground.

At the opening of the event, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said that "civil society is an indispensable partner in our efforts to promote the health and safety of individuals, their families and communities." He also thanked all the civil society organizations, and their dedicated staff, working with UNODC in the field to provide help to people in need, often in hardship conditions.

The hearing took place following the 2 nd intersessional meeting of the 62 nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and featured voices from grassroot civil society organizations from Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, the Russian Federation, South Africa and Sri Lanka, covering all aspects of the drug spectrum. Some 75 people attended the Hearing, including representatives from some 40 Permanent Missions.