The Ministerial Segment of the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will be held only few days after the largest global event on gender equality, International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 th March. The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) takes this opportunity to emphasize the need for global drug policies to pay special attention to women and the promotion and defence of their rights.
We note that the theme for IWD in 2019 is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’, focusing on: ‘innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure’.
We also note that the provisional agenda for the Ministerial Segment includes a roundtable on ‘Taking stock of the implementation of all commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem…’. These commitments include the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs – which includes a strong gender component as it relates to drug policy. Paragraph 4(g) of the Outcome Document recommends that UN member states:
‘Mainstream a gender perspective into and ensure the involvement of women in all stages of the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of drug policies and programmes, develop and disseminate gender-sensitive and age-appropriate measures that take into account the specific needs and circumstances faced by women and girls with regard to the world drug problem and, as States parties, implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’.
As UN member states are preparing to attend the Ministerial Segment – and are currently negotiating the outcome of the high-level event – we call on the EU and its member states to take this opportunity to focus on the commitments and progress made towards mainstreaming a gender perspective, as set out in the UNGASS Outcome Document.
The UNGASS Outcome Document also highlights the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noting that ‘efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to effectively address the world drug problem are complementary and mutually reinforcing’.
The achievement of SDG 5 on gender equality will necessitate that drug policies and programmes adopt a strong gender component to ensure that women are not left behind in efforts to control the illicit drug market.
Using the UNGASS Outcome Document structure, the CSFD wishes to offer specific recommendations which we hope can be of use in informing the positions of the European Union at the Ministerial Segment and at the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.