VNGOC Chair Michel Perron used his podium time at the launch of the 2013 World Drug Report in Vienna last week to make a compelling case to CND member states about the value of their partnering with NGOs in preparation for the 2014 High Level Review of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action and 2016 UNGASS.  Saying they could expect a “high return on investment of effective partnerships with NGOs,” and citing VNGOC’s recent track record supporting overdose prevention and HIV/AIDS resolutions, Perron assured delegates that “our members represent a significant and tangible strategic asset for your government to partner with.”  The clear and concise but conceptually dense remarks  contained a request that member states earmark a portion of their annual contributions to UNODC to support the VNGOC efforts to provide technical support and advice to member states on specific areas of concern through 2016. 

The VNGOC membership meeting focused on presentation of the new Strategic Plan, which takes into account what Mr. Perron called an “explosion of interest” in VNGOC both by UN member states as well as new NGO affiliates.  This interest is only expected to grow as member states’ attention focuses on demand and supply control strategies under global austerity, shifts to different substances and trafficking routes, and compelling regional initiatives such as the OAS Report.  The highly publicized Global Commission on Drug Policy statements as well as effective NGO participation in the 56th CND have slightly shifted member states’ perspectives on the need for relevant and compelling information to assist in development of national and regional drug policies. 

With Executive Officer David Turner undergoing treatment for lymphoma, Daniel Quittan, a Vienna insider, has been hired as part-time Project Officer to implement the stringent governance requirements and financial opportunities (which include qualifying for EU funds) that come with being an officially registered Austrian NGO.  Since the Committee is asking member states to invest in VNGOC – to have a financial stake in it – in order to provide technical support and give NGOs an effective voice in the run up to the 2014 High Level Review and 2016 UNGASS, its ability to both be and appear to be impartial must be impeccable.

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