Supporting Health and Human Rights in Drug Policy: Brief to the Minister of Health and Canadian Delegation to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

This brief is submitted to the Minister of Health and members of the Canadian delegation to the 63rd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) by the Canadian Civil Society Working Group on UN Drug Policy (see Appendix). The Working Group was originally established in preparation for the 2016 UNGASS. Since this event, members have welcomed the opportunity to be part of Canadian delegations and to participate as civil society observers in subsequent sessions of the CND.

The objective of the Working Group is to increase Canadian civil society engagement at the CND and related UN meetings and processes with a view to promoting international drug policy that:
· Is informed by current evidence;
· Adheres to international human rights agreements;
· Promotes the inclusion of people who use drugs and civil society stakeholders in all aspects of research, policy development and program implementation;
· Reflects values that embrace ongoing critical evaluation of the impacts of drug policy on individuals, families and communities; and
· Supports the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The following recommendations highlight priority areas in which Canada can play a leadership role in advancing evidence-informed, inclusive and effective drug policy that is grounded in a public health approach and in alignment with complementary UN initiatives, including the promotion of human rights and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.