UN Summit for the Future: Nairobi NGO Conference - May 2024


UN Summit of, and Pact for the Future

The Cannabis Embassy coordinated written contributions with the South African non-governmental organisation in consultative status with the UN (ECOSOC special NGO status) Fields of Green for ALL, NPC, for the UN NGO Conference of Nairobi (9-10 May 2024) preparing for the upcoming "Summit of and Pact for the Future" later on in 2024 in New-York.

"The 2024 UN Civil Society Conference in Support of the Summit of the Future to be held at the United Nations Office in Nairobi on 9-10 May under the title “Shaping a Future of Global and Sustainable Progress”, is the premier event in the civil society calendar at the United Nations ahead of the Summit of the Future later in 2024. Drawing on the history of the civil society’s presence in San Francisco at the founding of the United Nations, the Civil Society Conference in Nairobi is an opportunity to showcase civil society as an essential partner in this global endeavor to deliver a better present and safeguard the future of people and planet."

Representative Myrtle Clarke will attend the NGO Conference in May.

Human Rights & Gender Equality

Drug Policy Reform is a cross-cutting issue affecting vulnerable populations and the environment, in particular women and youth. We have worked with Human Rights treaty bodies and UN Drug Control institutions and submitted contributions whenever possible. This is in order to raise awareness of the issues arising from drug control and prohibition, particularly as relates to plant based drugs, traditional knowledge, biological heritage, and genetic resources.

Key UN system reforms

The outcomes of the Summit of, and Pact for, the Future should contain a concise outline of the areas of work as articulate at the conference. This would be in order to move from the general to the specific so that adequate reporting and data sharing can be enabled. International drug policy, as it relates to traditional plants and fungi should be one area of work contained within this outline.

1: Sustainable Development and Financing for Development

Since UNGASS 2016, we have led an international working group on Cannabis, Hemp and Sustainable Development. The attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals is only possible if policy reform evolves to accommodate the aspirations of these goals. […] We put forward to the conference agenda that our “Sustainable Cannabis Policy Toolkit” would be a valuable contribution as an example of Civil Society work in a specific area that nonetheless applies to many cross-cutting issues with its simple, translatable format (Already available in English, Spanish, Czech and, soon, Portuguese).

Key UN system reforms

The impact of Drug Prohibition on Sustainable Development should be part of clearly defined goals for the future as vulnerable groups, particularly rural farmers in countries that produce traditional plant based drugs While institutions across the UN are mindful of representation across geographical areas, genders and age groups, the representation of small-scale communities associated with illicit crops cultivation, trade, and use, encounters several barriers to entry - notably, education and funding.

2: International peace and security

The prohibition of drugs has led to the creation of transnational organised crime groups that are often more powerful than states. Drug prohibition constitutes one of the main threats to international peace and security. Punitive international prohibition has led to the violation of Human Rights and significant environmental destruction, which further destabilises vulnerable populations & states. Lack of resources for grass roots activism has led to a disconnect between the very real threat of organised crime and affected populations on the ground.

Key UN system reforms

We submit that the UNODC, as constituted to deal with issues related to drugs AND crime, would be more effective as an agency for international peace and security if these two functions were split. Although it is evident that part of drug-related issues is also crime-related, most of the concept of “crime” falls out of the scope of any matter linked to drugs. From robbery, terrorism, human or organ tra cking, tax evasion, child pornography, to copyright violations, nothing rational or systematic links these crimes to drugs. The drugs & crime issue only arises as a nuclear topic when the system has failed to put “health and welfare” at its core. The primary work to be undertaken at international level regarding drugs must fundamentally articulate around health, care, and prevention.

3: Science, Technology and Innovation and Digital Cooperation

Biopiracy designates the illegitimate and/or illegal appropriation of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge. Hemp (Cannabis L.), along with numerous other crop plants, is deeply ingrained in traditional knowledge systems and represents genetic resources possibly associated with the intellectual property rights of small-scale farmers. The economic potential of cannabis genetic resources makes it susceptible to biopiracy.

Key UN system reforms

In the context of the upcoming Diplomatic Conference to conclude a treaty on this topic, and taking into account our right to science, the Summit should consider biopiracy and explore how international legal controls impact conservation efforts for cannabis and all genetic resources and traditional knowledge. It is through 21st century science and innovation that threats such as Biopiracy and exploitation of genetic resources can be overcome.

ImPACT coalition

We have suggested the creation of a NGO ImPACT Coalition on Sustainable Development & Human Rights in Drug Policy.