It is no secret, that no revolution happened in the High Level Ministerial Segment but Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2019 will be a new chapter for reform-minded youth movements: we are visible and we act together! Youth organisations started CND 2019 with presenting the youth perspective at HLMS side event, organising an organisational meeting and performing a flashmob. And two joint side events to follow this week!

Youth representative in the Civil Society Task Force, the international coordinator of Youth RISE, presented the organisations position at the HLMS side event organised by the Norwegian government (“A health-centred approach to drug dependence, a multi-factorial health disorder”). She urged the delegates to waste no more time and implement evidence-based prevention, harm reduction and treatment. She ended her speech with emphasis on pragmatic decisions: “And finally, be wise. Fight your own personal distaste for those ill with addiction, fight your anger, fight your fear of political opposition, fight your own indecisiveness. Be wise and work for lives and health of your children by providing them with as many means to overcome their illness as possible”.

On Saturday, youth organisations came together for an orientation meeting. SSDP, along with SSDP Australia and Canadian SSDP, as well as YODA and Youth RISE discussed the dissemination of Youth ASKS (a youth statement, jointly developed specifically for CND), upcoming side events and possibilities for future concerted action. Chlöe Swarbrick, a young member of parliament from New Zealand, came to share her experience with youth activists.

A flashmob was organised on Friday. People laid on the floor in front of the Philippines stand in the Rotunda, to protest the extra-judicial killings of people who use drugs in Philippines as well as elsewhere in Asia. The flashmob attracted the security’s attention as protests are not allowed in the UN. Could Philippines have expected to come to the UN, glorify their horrific war and not provoke any backlash by their contemptuous actions? Naïve, naïve.

The preparation for our side events is almost complete, with one side event on Wednesday and one side event on Thursday, both at the 2:20 PM slot. The side events, based on Ask 2 and Ask 3 of the Paradigma Coalition’s Asks document, based around upholding public health and human rights based approaches to drug policy, and the concept of leaving no one behind in their discussions at CND, by including both youth-led organizations and key affected populations. The Asks document will be available throughout the week at CND.