In West Africa, civil wars have receded, democracy has gained ground and economies are growing. But a destructive new threat is jeopardizing this progress: with local collusion, international drug cartels are undermining countries and communities, and devastating lives. After looking at the evidence, consulting experts from the region and around the world, and visiting some of the most affected countries and communities in the region, the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD) in June 2014, after 18 months of research, released their ground breaking report “Not Just in Transit: Drugs, the State and Society in West Africa”. According to the report, drugs pose a new threat to the development of West African countries. As the title suggests, the region is being increasingly destabilized not only by the illicit trade but also by the local production and consumption of drugs.
The results of this analysis shed light on the extent of the illicit trading. The trafficking of cocaine, estimated at 1.25 billion dollars alone, exceeds the national budgets of many states in the region. The WACD report’s recommendations present policy makers, donors, civil society and other actors in the region with an invaluable resource to review and reform drug laws. It is within this context that the WACD, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) – in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized this “Civil Society Workshop on Drug Policy in West Africa”.
The main objectives of the workshop were to:
- Promote WACD report on drug trafficking in West Africa
- Create awareness on drug policy issues in West Africa
- Build the capacities of CSOs in the region on issues raised in the WACD report
- Build a network of CSOs by providing space for participants to interact and share ideas.
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