The last day of the convening started with a guest speaker: Gloria Lai from IDPC’s office in Bangkok. We learned about the remarkable work IDPC has done in the past ten years, going through their various activities to cooperate with drug policy decision makers, organize open dialogues, invite experts, and put them in positions to speak. They are developing a worldwide network of NGO’s with over 160 organizations as members. Some of them are drug user networks while some of the others represent drug policy movements, lawyers, harm reduction, etc.
We also learned about the strategy of IDPC, and their involvement in policy work on drugs with civil society engagement. They support and empower national and regional organisations to be part of decision-making process, including youth based organizations.
One of the important pieces of knowledge Gloria discussed was mechanisms of interaction between UNODC and civil societies. The lack of funding and solutions for solving the issue of CSO participation in decision-making processes was discussed. We asked Gloria about these mechanisms, which apply in the interaction between UNODC and civil society. We also discussed the lack of funding for civil society organizations and ways on how to keep participation of civil society in the decision-making process from becoming more restrictive.
The second part of the day was about creating a general consensus on a mission statement & vision by all youth participants in the workshop, facilitated by Brun González, the international working group leader from Youth RISE Mexico and part of ReverdeSer Colectivo, a Mexican-based CSO. The result was a shared declaration in order to facilitate the creation of a global youth coalition dedicated to reforming drug laws at a global scale.
The whole afternoon was about defining details of this coalition. The fact that many drug-related issues are similar in every part of the world made it easier for us to agree on similar ideologies and share common perspectives. This workshop allowed us to strengthen the network goal, mission, and vision, by standing for a position to let other stakeholders realise what works and doesn’t work for us as young people.
This ‘Global Youth Coalition’ could be a space for young people who are unheard and unseen in policy making meetings, and more specifically at the UN offices. This will enable in-depth solutions to bringing community voices to drug policy change. As a result, a declaration will be written and published through all the youth networks This workshop is considered as the building blocks of a broader involvement of young people in policy work and promotion of health care, better policies and human rights on drug related issues. This coalition is a place for anyone who wants to bring a change in drug policy and promote harm reduction on drugs and risks related to it.
Be on the lookout in the next few days for a final summary of the decisions our coaltion made in relation to our name, mission, and vision.