June 26, 2012 was the International Day agains Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the launch of the UN Drug Report and the day selected for the General Assembly’s thematic debate on Drugs and Crime as a Threat to Development.

The Alliance of NY and Vienna had drafted a joint statement for the debate and it can be downloaded here: June26AllianceStatement

The statement by the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs can be downloaded from their site: http://www.vngoc.org.

The following is an overview of the debate excerpted from notes by Michel Perron, Chair of VNGOC:

Overview

The June 26th opening panel was attended by President of GA (PGA), Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

It was a panel format and participants spoke then chairs encouraged interactive dialogue with Member States (MS.) NGOs were to be called once all MS had spoken.

The panelists went over time on the morning panel and the list of MS extended beyond the morning session. The structure of the event severely limited interactivity since most simply made statements rather than asking questions of the panel.

From an NGO perspective the Alliance’s Forum@Four and the VNGOC’s informal civil society hearings provide an essential non-formal settings that create opportunities for genuinely interactive dialogues.

In terms of NGO statements, six were finally admitted at the very end of the session.

The floor was first given to a youth from Uganda – sponsored by UNODC and part of their youth network – where or how this came into the agenda was UNODC’s doing. Michel Perron, Chair of the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) had prepared a 3-4 minute statement (you can watch it on YouTube here: View) and trimmed it to three.  With the closing ceremony about to start, Mr. Fedotov who was moderating the session at this stage asked the President of the GA if he would allow a few minutes so NGO’s could speak. He agreed saying “I like NGOs.” So NGOs were asked to limit their statements to one minute.

Dr. Karen Judd Smith, Chair of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, NY cut the Alliance statement down to the key action points but doubled the time they finally indicated she was given as they went into over-time and the translators packed up… two minutes.