Feb. 8-10 in NYC: Events Building Up to Historic Worldwide Debate on Future of Drug War and its Alternatives 

Global Opportunity for Paradigm Shift as Countries Consider Decriminalization, Marijuana Legalization, Harm Reduction, and Reducing Incarceration 

In April, the United Nations will host the most significant high-level international drug policy event in almost two decades, the General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS). Global leaders will come to the UN to debate advances and challenges in global drug control, while individuals and organizations from around the world will travel to New York to demand a change in course that breaks with the failed prohibitionist policies of the past. During the week of the UNGASS in April, public actions will take place around the city, led by community activists, faith leaders, families, students, growers, rights defenders and drug policy experts, among others.

This week, a series of events will kick off in New York geared at getting elected officials, academics, organizations and the public discussing the upcoming UNGASS.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue, will host a Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations entitled ‘The World Drug Problem: Taking Stock and Strengthening the Global Response’. The hearing will contribute to the UNGASS and “will provide an opportunity for an evidence-based reflection on the ways the global community is addressing this complex problem in its many aspects […] The underlying question of the Hearing is whether the so-called “war on drugs”, which relies on a law-enforcement solution to the problem of illicit drugs, has worked as intended.”

On Tuesday, February 9, the Open Society Foundations will host and event on Drug Crop Production, Poverty, and Development. The international panel of researchers and growers from Colombia, Morocco, Peru, and the United States will discuss the role of drug crop production in poverty and development. The event launches a brief report outlining key recommendations on the topic for UN member states to consider leading up to the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs, and will feature photography by Juan Barrero and documentary films on coca farmers from Xenia Grubstein and German Ramirez.

And on Wednesday, February 10, President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft will host the Interactive Stakeholder Consultation for UNGASS at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In a day of interactive panel discussions, the Consultation will provide an opportunity for representatives from civil society, non-governmental organizations, the academic and scientific community and other relevant stakeholders to interact with Member States and the UN community and to contribute to the ongoing preparatory process for UNGASS. The Consultation will feature speakers that have travelled from Uganda, the Philippines, Croatia, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Senegal, Kenya, Lithuania, Nepal, India, Chile and Jamaica to share practical expertise and experiences from their work on drug policy on the ground. President Lykkotoft will make opening remarks along with with Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and representatives from the UNGASS Board and UNODC in Vienna. Nearly 300 organizations from around the world have registered to attend.


Event: The World Drug Problem: Taking Stock and Strengthening the Global Response

Date: February 8 and 9

Time: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm

Location: Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York


Event: Drug Crop Production, Poverty, and Development

Date: February 9

Time: 3:30 to 8 pm 

Location: Open Society Foundations, 224 West 57th Street


Event: Interactive Stakeholder Consultation

Date: February 10

Time: 11 am to 6 pm

Location: Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York


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