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5th SESSION OF THE AU CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS OF DRUG CONTROL

         Date: 2012-10-11

           Tag: Africa Union

Summary: 5th SESSION OF THE AU CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS OF DRUG CONTROL (CAMDC5) 08 - 12 OCTOBER 2012.THEME: PROMOTING GOOD PRACTICES IN DRUG POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION

A. BACKGROUND
1. Today, it is widely accepted that the war on drugs might not have been the perfect answer and that drug policies which simply criminalise drugs and its use failed to actually curtail drug use, production and trafficking; while in fact negatively influencing violence, public health challenges and human rights abuses. There exists many arguments for opening up the drug policy debate and including all options, including legalization and regulation. In the past, these arguments were articulated by activists and scholars, but now we are hearing leaders saying that drug laws, policies, strategies and programmes need to be reformed in order to align with basic human rights and evidence-based public health practices.

2. It is widely agreed that often drug users are not receiving suitable treatment, are sent to prison with hardened criminals, are denied health services, and harassed by law enforcers. While law and order approaches to drug control are expensive in terms of money, lives and communities; they have not proven to be more effective than drug prevention and treatment programmes. Punitive drug laws, restrictive policies, abusive policing, stigma and discrimination among many other factors all weigh heavily on risk and harm in relation to drug use.

3. The recent 55thsession of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, took place amidst rapidly emerging global debate on the appropriateness of continuing drug prohibition and whether legalization and regulation as a potential alternative or even better way to control drugs. There were various calls for debate on alternatives to drug prohibition and it seems that delegates left the meeting still seeking clarity.

4. Africa is in the unique position of being able to learn from experiences in other parts of the world in order to ensure that Continental responses are relevant and in accordance to recent good practices. The African Union Commission sees the upcoming 5th Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Drug Control (CAMDC5), as an opportunity as the ideal opportunity to bring this discussion into Africa in order
to promote appropriate responses to illicit drugs in Africa.

B. OBJECTIVES

5. The main objective of the 5th Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Drug Control (CAMDC5) will be to review and strengthen mechanisms for enhanced shared responsibility for illicit drugs in Africa,in order to continue the implementation of drug control targets while using this opportunity to join the current global debate surrounding illicit drugs.

6. In addition to hosting this very vibrant debate on how to proceed with drug control in Africa, the Conference will also:
Review and agree on the proposed revised AU Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013 - 2018).
Review and adopt minimum quality standards for Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment.
Agree on an African Common Position on Controlled Substances and Pain Management.

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