Communiqué: West African Common Position towards UNGASS 2016
20 January, 2016 in Accra, Ghana: We, representatives of government ministries, law enforcement agencies, drug policy experts and civil society who participated in the Regional Consultation on Drug Policy Reform on “The Road to UNGASS” which was held in Ghana from 19-20 January 2016, which attracted 11 West African countries namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone hereby make the following declaration with respect to drug policy reform in West Africa;
Reaffirming the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation, the Common African Position towards UNGASS, AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan to address drug trafficking, production and consumption, and calling upon West Africa Member States to take the measures necessary to fully implement the actions set out therein, with the view to attaining, in timely manner their goals and targets.
Acknowledging the serious threat posed by drug trafficking and production to governance, peace and security stability and economic growth in West Africa, a region that has only recently emerged from decades of violent conflict;
Recognising the efforts made by Member States to comply with the provisions of the single Conventions on Narcotic Drug of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988;
Acknowledging the threat of drug use to public health and social development in West Africa;
Mindful of the current drug policy that has fostered abuses of human rights of drug users, burdened the criminal justice system, deterioration of public health, proliferation of violence, spread of HIV, hepatitis, tuberculosis prevalence and taking priority away from effective treatment and rehabilitation for people who use drugs;
Acknowledging that narcotic drugs trafficking is a major problem that threatens security, social welfare, economic development and political stability in West Africa;
Welcoming the opportunity that the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016 on the world drug problem provides the region to review its progress in the International Cooperation against the World Drug problem;
Recalling that the world drug problem remains a common and shared responsibility that requires effective and increased international cooperation;
We hereby recommend the following inputs towards the contribution of Member States to the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session:
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