CIC Vancouver: Changing International Dynamics for Drug Control

The CIC Vancouver would like to thank the Simon Fraser University School for International Studies for hosting and co-sponsoring this event.

In the build-up to the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in April 2016, optimism for policy reform reached fever pitch. Daily news articles highlighted the failures of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ overseen by the League of Nations and, later, the UN for the past century. Many hoped there would be a systemic redrawing of global drug control lines, that the old treaty system would be remodelled to reflect a new progressive approach and narrative. Perhaps unsurprisingly this did not emerge. Instead, the result was a diplomatic fudge, which watered down the uniformity of states’ obligations towards uniform controls and acknowledged that greater national autonomy would prevail in global drug-policy discourses.

Even though the outcome may not have been what optimists had hoped for, UNGASS will still have lasting significance. This is because, in many ways, it ushered in a new era of international drug control, and did so relatively swiftly. Whereas the past century had seen a move towards drug policy universalism, UNGASS represents a step towards pluralism which allows for different policies in different contexts. It also enables rigorously monitored policy and regulatory experimentation, which would then provide the evidence base necessary for more fundamental reforms at the international level. This lecture will discuss the changing shape of international drug diplomacy and its impact on both the move away from a global war on drugs and shift to greater national autonomy in pursuing new policies such as cannabis legalization and other new modes of drug control.

About the Speaker

Angela Me

As Director of Research at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Angela Me has an enviable birds-eye view of the complex matrix that comprises transnational organized crime – or at least a sizeable chunk of it.

Me is in charge of several of UNODC’s seminal publications such as the World Drug Report, the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, the Global Study on Homicide and the annual Afghanistan Opium Survey, publications she describes as “the global reference point of information in the areas of drugs and crime”.

This feisty, self-confessed “numbers person”, is in charge of global, regional and national research initiatives on drugs and crime — drug markets, demand, supply and trafficking; and where crime is concerned, violent, conventional and transnational organized crime, as well as trafficking of people and corruption. As such, Me certainly has her finger on the pulse of current trends in transnational organized crime.

For more info about Dr. Me, read this article!

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