The New York NGO Committee on Drugs (NYNGOC) provides a platform for discussion of drugs and drug-related subjects and interfaces with the United Nations (UN) to collaborate on solutions to global drug issues. It is a global committee that aims to support civil society organizations in engaging with the UN system on international drug policy and practice, facilitating the exchange of information between civil society organizations and UN agencies, member states, and other relevant UN bodies. The NYNGOC represents more than 100 civil society organizations from across the globe. NYNGOC collaborates with other NGO organizations, especially the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) and the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to ensure a strong NGO voice in UN processes, specifically the 2016 UNGASS on Drugs. The NYNGOC operates under the umbrella of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO).
Created in 1984, the NYNGOC has a long history of participation in high-level meetings around drugs. In June 1987, the NYNGOC organized an international forum with VNGOC in conjunction with the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. In 1994, the NYNGOC participated in the organization of the NGO World Forum on Drug Demand Reduction held in Bangkok. In 1998, the NYNGOC, along with VNGOC, coordinated an “NGO Village” during the UNGASS on Drugs. The NGO Village was a diverse gathering of NGOs resulting in a vibrant exchange of ideas and from which six NGO representatives with diverse points of view were chosen to address the General Assembly. In the NGO forum known as “Beyond 2008” which preceded the High-Level Meeting on Drugs held in Vienna in 2009, the NYNGOC also played a role in both the July 2008 forum and the nine regional consultations leading up to it.
In preparation for the 2016 UNGASS on Drugs, the NYNGOC has been meeting regularly, with attendance by NGOs representing a broad cross-section of the community, including professionals from the human rights, public health, medical, treatment and prevention, drug courts, criminal justice, and law sectors. NYNGOC membership, while global in scope, is focused on the Americas – North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. NYNGOC elected the following new members of the Executive Committee at its Annual General Meeting held June 20, 2014:
Heather Haase, Chairperson, NYC Bar Association Committee on Drugs & the Law
Diederik Lohman, Vice-Chairperson, Human Rights Watch
Benjamin Phillips, Acting Treasurer/Project Manager, Harm Reduction Coalition
Aram Barra, Secretary, Transform/Mexico United against Crime (Mexico)
Gregg Gonsalves, Yale School of Public Health Global Health Justice Partnership
Karyn Kaplan, Treatment Action Group
Michael Krawitz, Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access
Graciela Touze, Intercambios (Argentina)
Donald MacPherson, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (Canada)
Luciana Pol, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (Argentina)
Recent activity by the NYNGOC includes the establishment and launch of a formally recognized Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) for the 2016 UNGASS on Drugs. Working closely with the VNGOC, the NYNGOC launched the CSTF to ensure meaningful engagement by the global community of NGOs and communities impacted by drugs and drug-related issues at the 2016 UNGASS.