FGFA using its special UN consulting status for first time
Fields of Green for All (FGFA) has used its United Nations special consultitive status for the first time in joining a call for transparency in the formulation of global cannabis guidelines. FGFA is one of 181 international non government organizations from 56 countries that wrote an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General on 2 December 2021, raising concern about the behaviour of the International Narcotics Control Bureau (INCB).
FGFA was granted special consultative status by the United Nations (Economic and Social Council) on 1 June 202. It said at the time: “This milestone is one that has been in the making for years and whilst the fight to end cannabis prohibition in South Africa is still underway, we are pleased we now have a greater international platform for activism”
FGFA co-founder Myrtle Clarke says “the short story is that the INCB (International Narcotics Control Bureau) are trying to push through international cannabis guidelines without any consultations with civil society or transparency around their evidence. Sound familiar?”
Far-reaching guidelines should not be drawn up in secrecy
In open letters, one addressed to the INCB President, Jagjit Pavadia and the other sent to inform UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, about the situation, the INCB Cannabis Initiative says the INCB is creating documentation inside the drug control system to facilitate worldwide medicinal cannabis trade & research.
However, it says the “ INCB’s proposed global “Cannabis Guidelines” & the drafting process itself seem to contradict last year’s key scheduling vote by favouring an increase of restrictions.”
It says the INCB is the least transparent of all UN bodies and that its prohibitionist-orientated guidelines “will orient and shape governments’ regulations, impact the lives of many patients and farmers across the globe and undermine the work of doctors, health authorities, and many others. INCB’s rogue initiative threatens trust in a functioning legal order affirmed on 2 December 2020.”
Call for INCB to become fully transparent like other UN bodies
The NGO grouping says “these letters spell out how we as civil society stakeholders want to help the INCB meet the challenges of our world. This is why we have compiled proposals inspired by successful working methods of the broader UN family. Our suggestions are summed up in six recommendations:
- Disclose INCB documentation like other similar UN bodies;
- Opt-in to the UN online documentation access and archival system;
- Extend the civil society consultations to all areas of work of the Board;
- Call for and collect written contributions from non-State actors;
- Allow NGOs & non-State actors to participate as observers in INCB meetings;
- Scale-up “country visits,” inspired in the human rights treaty bodies Annual Review Mechanism.
Read the full press release here.