The VNGOC Board for 2023 introduces itself

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Annual General Meeting and Board elections on 16th of March 2023 in Vienna, Austria. As the new Chair, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the new Board members for 2023:

  • Chair: Myself, Matej Košir from Institute for Research and Development “Utrip”
  • Deputy Chair:*
  • Treasurer: Beatrix Vas from Youth RISE
  • Deputy Treasurer: Augusto Nogueira from ARTM Macau
  • Secretary: Asia Ashraf from the World Federation Against Drugs
  • Deputy Secretary: Penelope Hill from Harm Reduction Australia

*The position of deputy chair currently remains empty. The Board will convene in the coming weeks to decide how to proceed until the next board elections in March 2024.

On behalf of us all, I want to assure you of our absolute commitment to leading with a collaborative, inclusive and results-driven approach by representing the full scope of civil society perspectives within VNGOC. We are very confident that our multidisciplinary experience, expertise, and passion will take the VNGOC to new heights of success. We are also committed to putting our personal preferences and views aside and ensure that all civil society perspectives and voices can be heard here in Vienna and globally.

Our attention in the forthcoming months will be focused on the preparations for next year’s mid-term review of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration. Based on the modalities resolution, adopted at the 66th CND by consensus, civil society including through VNGOC will play an important role in implementing the joint international commitments. The document guarantees the participation of NGOs in both the general debate, and the two interactive, multi-stakeholder roundtables. As stated at the closing CND plenary session, we want to reassure all member states of our commitment to support and ensure meaningful, diverse and effective participation of NGOs throughout this process.

Furthermore, we will continue to work closely with the extended bureau, CND Secretariat and UNODC to ensure meaningful civil society engagement in all UN drug policy processes. VNGOC has developed a robust selection and decision-making process for civil society speaker selections, which prioritizes the quality of our contributions, geographical and gender balance, and inclusion of all scopes of civil society in the field of drug policy. The new VNGOC Board will continue to ensure transparent and fair processes that are open to the full range of NGOs from all around the world for the mid-term review and beyond.

The Board will be in touch with the membership in this intensive forthcoming period to reflect on the next steps and processes for 2023 and early 2024, and to plan the next VNGOC virtual, hybrid and/or in-person meetings. But in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact any of your new Board officers if you have any questions or concerns, and we will all do our best to address these.

Finally, I want to echo all of our thanks and appreciation to the outgoing Chair, Jamie Bridge, for the hard work and commitment that he has given to VNGOC over recent years. Jamie has been an incredible servant of the Committee and civil society in general. He, along with other members of the Board, moved the VNGOC to a higher level of operation and the challenge will be to step into his shoes. It has been a real pleasure to work with him, and we all look forward to continuing to do so. Thanks, Jamie!

Yours faithfully,

Matej Košir

Chairperson, VNGOC

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