Skip to content

Advancing Together: The Rome Consensus 2.0 Highlights at CND67

The 67th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and its ministerial segment, held at the headquarters of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, Austria, has marked a significant milestone by including a resolution that encourages Member States to adopt Harm Reduction. For our alliance in the Rome Consensus 2.0, this global event has served as a platform to reinforce commitment towards a humanitarian reform of drug policies, focusing on health, human rights, and sustainable development.

Strategic Encounters 

During the seven days of the CND 67 sessions, we managed to hold bilateral meetings thanks to the support of the Knowmad Institut team. Our alliance is evidenced by the successful meeting with the delegation from the Republic of Honduras, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Security, and the Director of the National Drug Observatory. We also had the opportunity to present the Rome Consensus 2.0 to the delegations from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Japan, Singapore, and Finland, to name a few. The participation of high-level officials, such as the deputy ministers of security from Colombia and Honduras, highlights the receptivity and support towards our initiatives for a humanitarian reform of drug policies.

Advances and Challenges 

The Rome Consensus 2.0 has been a key driver during the CND 67, highlighting the need for humanitarian drug policies. The importance of collaboration, innovation, and commitment to humanitarian practices in drug policy formulation was emphasized through three fundamental parallel events co-organized by our alliance.

Here are the highlights of these events:

Progress from a Global Policy Review.

  • Humanitarian practices and alignment with the Rome Consensus 2.0 in drug policies: progress from a Global Policy Review.
    The panel brought together experts and stakeholders from different backgrounds to discuss significant advances and challenges in drug policies from a humanitarian perspective. The discussion generated a set of recommendations and commitments to contribute to a global evolution of drug policies towards more ethical and human approaches to address drug problems, taking into account the Rome Consensus 2.0 international Manifesto. The global drug policy review presented during the event reflected the need to monitor national drug policies’ evolution and limits, using the Rome Consensus 2.0 best practices as a compass in order to find trends toward humanitarian practices in public and private health, legal and cultural challenges, access to treatment and recovery disparities. The research uses bibliometric analysis and policy and legislation evaluations and aims to analyze all the existing national drug policies and monitor their evolution in the next few years. 

Deflection in the African Continent

  • Deflection in the African Continent: Focused on police-led alternatives to incarceration.
    The applicability of the Rome Consensus 2.0 principles in African contexts was demonstrated. Collaboration between the police and drug treatment services explored new opportunities to reduce drug use and related crimes, reaffirming the value of diversion strategies as humanitarian practices.

Decriminalization: What? How? Why?

  • Decriminalization: What? How? Why?
    Provided a platform to debate the decriminalization of people who use drugs. This topic aligns with the humanitarian approach advocated by the Rome Consensus 2.0. Reasons behind this movement, methodologies, and possible implementations were discussed, highlighting the urgency to reform punitive policies.

These events have consolidated the position of the Alliance that Conforms to the Rome Consensus 2.0 as a catalyst for the adoption of human-centered drug policies globally. The presence and contributions during the CND67 have reinforced its mission to influence policy reform to be more humanitarian.

Strengthening Partnerships

Meetings with delegations from various countries, including Finland, Japan, and the Dominican Republic, have opened new avenues for partnerships in the Nordic, East Asian, and Caribbean regions. These interactions underline the growing interest and support for humanitarian drug policies promoted by the Rome Consensus 2.0. Additionally, we received an invitation from the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities to present the Rome Consensus 2.0 at its Annual Conference in Brazil in December.

Conclusions and Future Perspectives

Participation in CND 67 has been a significant step forward for the Rome Consensus 2.0, highlighting its commitment to global humanitarian reform of drug policies. Despite challenges, including the lack of consensus on adopting some resolutions, the inclusion of the term “harm reduction” in an official resolution marks a notable advance toward our objectives.

Looking ahead, the Rome Consensus 2.0 remains committed to strengthening international institutions and promoting global agreements that effectively respond to the complex challenge of substance abuse. Our work at the CND has reaffirmed the importance of collaboration among different actors and civil society to move towards fairer, evidence-based, and human-centered drug policies.

Although the resolution went from mentioning Harm Reduction nine times to only once, this modest victory showed that there needs to be a consensus on the definition of Harm Reduction, which has allowed for the politicization of the concept. This challenge is an opportunity for us to undertake more substantial advocacy work.

TL;DR: This is the specific mention on harm reduction that was left in the resolution; if you wish to read the full resolution, you can find here the PDF:

“OP3. Encourages Member States to explore innovative approaches, as appropriate and in accordance with domestic legislation, to more effectively address public and individual health threats posed by the non-medical and non-scientific use of drugs, particularly overdose, by involving all relevant sectors, supporting research, data collection, the analysis of evidence, and the sharing of information, reinforcing health-care systems and, as appropriate, in accordance with domestic law and pursuant to the aims of the international drug control conventions, if permitted by domestic law and included in national drug policies, harm reduction measures aimed at preventing and minimizing the adverse public health and social consequences of the non-medical use of drugs, including with the aim of preventing and responding to drug overdoses, and building the capacity of law enforcement and health -care professionals to respond to this challenge,”