International Conference  “Combatting Drugs and Drug-Related Crimes. Interaction between State and Civil Society”, organised by the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation

12 April 2017, Moscow

The Vienna NGO Committee was invited to participate in the conference together with civil society representatives from the United States, Europe and Tajikistan.

The conference was a high-level event organized by the Civic Chamber oft he Russian Federation and attended by many high-level government representatives as well as Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the UNODC.

The VNGOC delegation consisted of:

  • Esbjörn Hörnberg, VNGOC Chair, EU
  • Antonio Jesus Molina-Fernandez, Dianova Spain, EU
  • Dilorom Egamberdieva, OO Buzurg, Tajikistan
  • Irina Sergeyevna Broughton, CADCA, USA
  • Sarah Pirker, VNGOC, EU

The topic of the conference was “Combatting Drugs and Drug-Related Crimes. Interaction between State and Civil Society.” and aimed to provide insights into the work of civil society in this field. The participants had a varied background and offered valuable insights into different areas both in Russia and abroad.

Esbjörn Hörnberg, Chair of the Vienna NGO Committee was asked to give a statement during the opening segment of the conference. He highlighted the role of civil society both in international and national policy considerations. The full statement can be found here.

Voices from participants:

Antonio Jesus Molina-Fernandez, Dianova Spain:
I am honored to have been part of this group. It has been a great opportunity to get an impression of Russian reality and be able to extend my network.
About the forum, it’s a wonderful proposal collaboration between NGOs and Russian state in drugs policíes and topics. Participation was quite active and the result was a high level forum.
As proposals, I suggest to inform previously about the Needs and interests of all stakeholders, to identify common topics. Also I think it can be interesting to determinate networking moments and agents, to facilitate exchange of Good practices and experiences.

Irina Sergeyevna Broughton, CADCA:
It was an honor to be a part of the VNGOC delegation at “Combatting Drugs and Drug-Related Crimes. Interaction between State and Civil Society” conference in Russia. This timely event effectively touched upon various pressing issues, from global drug policy to the new security challenges. It was beneficial to learn about the drug situation in Russia, about the forms of collaboration between the state and civil society as well as about prevention and treatment efforts in the country.
As part of the VNGOC delegation, I was fortunate to represent Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) at this high-level conference. I am thankful for the opportunity to highlight the importance of primary prevention, and specifically the community coalition approach, as an effective strategy for addressing substance abuse and related problems at the community level.
In addition, the conference served as a good platform to network and share experiences from the field.

Esbjörn Hörnberg, Chair VNGOC:
From my perspective, after a number of years discussing with the Russian Mission in Vienna and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow, I was quite excited that the collaboration between some Civil Society Actors and the Authorities in Moscow made this Conference possible.
Unfortunately, due to unknown reasons, our program was limited to a one day Seminar and a follow-up dinner. The proposed field visits was not on the agenda and the possibilities to further discussions with different stakeholders were limited.
The Conference was attended by 80+ participants, so the number of statements were high. The Chair, Sergey Ordzhonikidze, was in my mind too restrictive with questions and comments, which led to the same situation I have experienced in the UN, where a fruitful discussion could have emerged. We discussed that during the dinner with our CSO-friends and they were a little bit disappointed.
But, in the light of the level of participants from the Government and the attendance of the UNODC ED, I think a lot of the challenges from the CS were brought to the table and the Chair closed the International Conference “Interaction between the state and civil society on drugs and drug-related crimes” by quoting Donne.
“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”


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