“Beyond 2008” Eastern Europe and Central Asia NGO consultationOn September 13-14, 2007, Kiev hosted the first consultation of Eastern Europe and Central Asia NGOs, as the part of the initiative "Beyond 2008"-a global forum on the 1998-2008 review of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Illicit Drugs. The event was organized by three regional lead organizations: the Anti-Drug Association from Serbia, the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network (CEEHRN) and European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD), and supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Beyond 2008” Eastern Europe and Central Asia NGO consultationOn September 13-14, 2007, Kiev hosted the first consultation of Eastern Europe and Central Asia NGOs, as the part of the initiative "Beyond 2008"-a global forum on the 1998-2008 review of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Illicit Drugs. The event was organized by three regional lead organizations: the Anti-Drug Association from Serbia, the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network (CEEHRN) and European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD), and supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Beyond 2008” Eastern Europe and Central Asia NGO consultationOn September 13-14, 2007, Kiev hosted the first consultation of Eastern Europe and Central Asia NGOs, as the part of the initiative "Beyond 2008"-a global forum on the 1998-2008 review of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Illicit Drugs. The event was organized by three regional lead organizations: the Anti-Drug Association from Serbia, the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network (CEEHRN) and European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD), and supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In June 1998, the United Nations General Assembly held a Special Session (UNGASS) to focus on the world drugs problem. The Session culminated in the adoption of a Political Declaration committing some 150 states to the achievement of significant and measurable results in reduction of illicit supply and demand for drugs by 2008. A review of the UN's achievements and progress is due to be undertaken in 2008 followed by a high-level UN meeting in 2009 to identify future action at the international and national levels.

This review process presents an ideal opportunity for civil society to reflect on its own achievements and limitations, exchange ideas and make recommendations to the UN. As a result, the Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs, in collaboration with its sister NGO Committee in New York and with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has created "Beyond 2008"-a global NGO forum targeted at this review. Building on a series of regional consultations and culminating in a global forum in Vienna in July 2008. Regional consultations will take place in different parts of the world, starting with Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

"Beyond 2008" has three objectives:

1. To highlight NGO achievements since the 1998 UNGASS.

2. To propose new and/or improved ways of working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

3. To adopt principles to serve as a guide for CND and in its future deliberations on drug policy matters.

The regional consultation in Kiev gathered around 25 participants from 10 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia and was the first occasion when such a diverse civil society group has met. The regional consultation in Kiev has focused on the following specific areas:

- tangible, non-governmental organization (NGO) achievements in the field of drug control, with particular emphasis on contributions to the 1998 UNGASS Action Plan.

- best practices related to collaboration mechanisms among NGOs, governments and UN agencies in

various fields of endeavor and new and/or improved ways of working with the UNODC and CND.

- high order principles, drawn from the Conventions and their commentaries, that would serve as a guide

for future deliberations on drug policy matters.

In his letter to the participants of the regional consultation in Kiev, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, stated: "Drug control is so important and complex that it cannot be handled solely by governments. Drugs affect all parts of society. Therefore we all have a shared responsibility to keep them out of our communities, and help those vulnerable to addiction."

This consultation for NGOs working in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the first of a series that will take place around the world. During those consultations, NGOs will be able to indicate their tangible achievements, recommend mechanisms for collaboration among NGOs, governments and the UN, and contribute to the future deliberation of drug policy.

To get more information about initiave "Beyond 2008", please contact Zaza Tsereteli, Regional Advisor for HIV/AIDS, UNODC, for Ukraine&Moldova, via e-mail:Zaza.Tsereteli@unodc.org. More details can be also found at www.vngoc.org