Mr Jorrit Kamminga, Director of Policy Research of the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), made the following statement at the 54th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), during the round table on “Revitalization of the principle of joint and shared responsibility as the centrepiece of international cooperation to confront the challenges posed by the world drug problem, in a manner consistent with the relevant United Nations conventions and declarations.”
We thank the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and its Member States for the opportunity to take part in this round-table. The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) has participated in the CND since 2003, and very much appreciates the opportunity for the direct involvement of NGOs, reflecting the recommendations of the important Beyond 2008 NGO Forum.
I will make three brief points, the first about the relevance of shared responsibility in its traditional meaning, the second about the need for flexibility when reassessing and revitalising this principle, and the third about ICOS’ commitment to assist Member States on new ways of looking at shared responsibility.
Point 1: Shared responsibility is pertinent but requires both common understanding and real commitment
The situation in both Colombia and Afghanistan, where ICOS has been working on the ground since 2005, shows that shared responsibility in the traditional sense should still play an important role as the guiding principle for cooperation between predominantly consumer and producer or transit countries.
For example, the latest INCB Report has confirmed in section 447 that (and I quote) “[i]n some South American countries, financial resources in support of efforts to address drug-related problems continue to be insufficient” (end of quote). Similar funding or technical assistance gaps exist elsewhere in the world. Member States should, therefore reinforce the principle of shared responsibility to better identify and address those gaps. Civil society actors such as NGOs working in those countries can help with this important endeavour.
To reinforce the principle of shared social responsibility we need a common understanding of what the principle means and how it can be applied effectively. Without a common understanding of the concept, it is easy to use shared responsibility in bilateral or multilateral programmes as a “Trojan horse” where shared social responsibility sometimes reflects underlying interests and political agendas rather than helping countries to implement better, more effective policies related to drug control.
Point 2: Shared responsibility requires flexibility
Secondly, while we should agree on the need to reinforce the more classic interpretation of the notion of shared responsibility, we must also acknowledge that the evolving nature of the international drug problem demands a flexible approach. With new trends and changing consumption and production patterns, we need to include other areas such as public health to the understanding of the principle of shard responsibility.
For example, while it remains important to assist countries on the supply side, we should acknowledge that producer and transit countries such as Afghanistan and Iran have also developed extensive drug addiction problems, which require urgent attention.
Point 3: ICOS commitment to research on shared responsibility
ICOS is committed to finding new ways in which shared responsibility can be applied in a meaningful manner and can become an effective, practical link between the needs in producer and transit countries and international support in the form of programme funding, technical assistance and capacity building. For example, ICOS has started a research progamme on ‘shared responsibility’ in coordination with the University of Valencia in Spain. We are especially looking into the situation in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Mexico.
In Latin America, we also investigate this issue at the cross-sections of public security and drug-related violence and crime, through our ‘Policy Labs on Security and Citizenship’, currently in several areas of Brazil and Paraguay.
We hope that our ongoing and upcoming research in these areas will contribute to the Member States’ mission of reinforcing and revitalising the principle of joint or shared responsibility.
I thank you for your attention,
Mr Jorrit Kamminga, Director of Policy Research, International Council on Security and Development (ICOS)