“Beyond 2008” An international Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Forum on the 1998-2008 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs

An initiative of the Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs


In June 1998, the United Nations General Assembly met in a Special Session to address the world drug problem. The Session culminated in the adoption of a Political Declaration committing some 150 states to the achievement of significant and measurable results in reduction of the illicit supply and demand for drugs by the year 2008. Two other resolutions were adopted dealing with Guiding Principles of Demand Reduction and Measures to Enhance International Cooperation to Counter the Drug Problem.

Apart from the Member States’ commitments and pledges adopted on June 10, 1998; the General Assembly, directly or indirectly, called upon NGOs to work closely with governments and others in assessing the drug problem, identifying viable solutions and implementing appropriate policies and programmes.  Resolution 49/2 of the 49th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs calls for an increased participation by NGO representatives for the tenth anniversary of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly.

“Beyond 2008” is a joint initiative of the Vienna and New York NGO Committees on drugs to facilitate an effective contribution from NGOs to the UNGASS Review.  The Vienna NGO Committee 2nd Vice Chair Michel Perron, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse chairs the Steering Committee.  A formal governance structure consisting of the Steering Committee and a Program Committee has been established.

“Beyond 2008”

The target date of 2008 agreed at the 1998 UNGASS on Drugs for the achievement of “significant and measurable results” presents an opportunity for the NGO community to reflect on its own achievements in drug control, exchange ideas on promising new approaches, reach agreements on ways to work together and make recommendations to multilateral agencies and UN member states on future directions for drug control.  Building on past experience, the Vienna NGO Committee will host “Beyond 2008” to contribute to the 1998-2008 review and agenda-setting exercise being undertaken by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

Given the wide variety of views on how best to address drug problems today the Forum, preceded by six regional consultations, will strive to represent a broad range of experience and contributions.  It is also acknowledged that drug policy spans a vast ideological continuum and this is also true of NGOs in the drugs field.   That said, the Forum and its regional consultations will focus on the value added benefit of NGOs themselves regardless of their ideological viewpoint.


The “Beyond 2008” regional consultations and the Forum itself will focus on three specific objectives:

  1. To highlight tangible NGO achievements in the field of drug control, with particular emphasis on contributions to the 1998 UNGASS Action Plan such as achievement in policy, community engagement, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration.
  2. To review best practices related to collaboration mechanisms among NGOs, governments and UN agencies in various fields  and propose new and/or improved ways of working with the UNODC and CND.
  3. To adopt a series of high order principles, drawn from the Conventions and their commentaries, that would be tabled with UNODC and CND for their consideration and serve as a guide for future deliberations on drug policy matters.

The final output of the regional consultations and the NGO Forum will be formally presented to the CND for its consideration as it prepares its own review of achievement in the period1998/2008 against the targets established at the UNGASS.

Regional Consultations

For the purpose of consultations the world has been divided into nine regions.  Six regional consultations will be financially supported in those regions with significant numbers of less developed countries (Latin America and the Caribbean, East Europe (Non EU or EFTA states) and Central Asia, North Africa and Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, South East and East Asia and the Pacific). Coordinated by the Beyond 2008 Program Committee, the regional consultations will be led by three NGOs from each region.  For the three other regions (North America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe (EU members + EFTA) consultations will not be financially supported. Regional lead organisations have been agreed and they are in the process of securing funds for their regional consultation.

The Forum

The Forum will be held at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna and will consist of invited participants representing a balanced cadre of ideological interests. More specific participant admission guidelines will be developed. While most representatives will be from the health, treatment and prevention sectors the Forum will also include those from other relevant sectors, for example, NGOs involved in alternative development or issues of criminal justice. The International Steering Committee will work with the NGO Crime Alliance Committee among others on this matter.


The timing of the Forum is contingent on the deliberations of the 2007 Commission on Narcotic Drugs where it is expected that they will select the date for the 1998-2008 review.

Governance and management

The forum is an initiative of the Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs in association with its sister committee in New York. The Vienna NGO Committee 2nd Vice Chair, Michel Perron, Chairs the Steering Committee. The Committee is drawn from members of the two NGO Committees and with representation from UNODC. The role of the Committee is to provide general direction to Forum organizers, approve a detailed Forum work plan, monitor progress and maintain stewardship over Forum finances. Financial management for “Beyond 2008” has been undertaken by the Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse, which provides bi-monthly financial reports as well as preparing quarterly returns to UNODC and arranging annual independent audit of the project finances.


“Beyond 2008” has already received significant financial support from the European Commission and the governments of Canada, Hungary, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Five NGOs have also provided financial support and a number of governments have indicated their strong interest in supporting this initiative. The UNODC has confirmed is formal support for this event and will provide access to their venue in Vienna at no cost.

For further information please contact:

Michel Perron,
Chair of Beyond 2008 & Vice-chair of the Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs
Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
+1.613.235.4048 ext. 227


Staff time – consultant to the Steering and Program Cttee

€ 125,000

Local assistance for Forum arrangements

€ 10,000

Canvassing instrument and interviews

€ 15,000

Commissioned papers

€ 50,000

International Planning Committee (meetings and travel)

€ 30,000

Regional Consultation Planning Committee (meetings and travel)

€ 15,000

Regional leads attendance at 2007 & 2008 CND (travel)

€ 40,000

UNODC consultant and support staff

€ 60,000


€ 345,000

Regional Consultations (6 consultations with 40 NGO participants )
Honoraria for lead NGO’s (3 per region x €5,000 x 6)

€ 90,000

Airfares (40 x €500 x 6)

€ 120,000

Accommodation (3 days x 40 @ €150/day)

€ 108,000


€ 318,000

Beyond 2008 Forum
Travel and accommodation for 150 participants
Airfares (150 @ 2,000)

€ 300,000

Accommodation (4 days x 150 @ €150/day)

€ 90,000




€ 30,000


€ 420,000

Teleconference costs

€ 5,000

Survey costs: licence/hosting/analysis

€ 30,000


€ 10,000


€ 10,000

Office supplies

€ 20,000


€ 75,000