By Maria-Goretti Ane-Loglo (IDPC) & Charity Monareng (TB/HIV Care)

In 2015, the member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a shared proposal for peace and prosperity for people and the world at large. At the centre are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calling for urgent action by all countries in a global cooperation. The governments of the world recognised that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, protect the planet, and spur economic growth.

With less than a decade remaining until the 2030 target date, it is imperative to take stock of how far Africa has come towards achieving the SDGs and what still needs to be done. Yet very little attention is being paid to drug policy reform in Africa, which is of particular importance considering how global drug control is a cross-cutting development issue that impacts and impedes many of the SDGs. Member states should at the very least be reporting on SDG Target 3.5 and its indicators which are directly related to drug use and treatment. However, over the past five years, African governments have failed to include any indicators or targets related to drugs in their reports.

This paper comprises three parts:

  • Part 1 demonstrates how drug policy reform is a sustainable development issue.
  • Part 2 then provides the results from a desk review of African country statements at the High-level Political Forums on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York: on 7-16 July 2020, and 6-15 July 2021.
  • Finally, Part 3 contrasts the failure of governments to mention drugs in these statements, against what is really happening at the national level, based on a rapid review by the IDPC network in the region.

Launch event: