Brandenburg Forum on Drugs and Development Policies

©Thomas Koehler/photothek.de ©Thomas Koehler/photothek.de

A strong alliance for more human-centred drug policies

Experts on international drug policy have been meeting every year since 2016 at the Brandenburg Forum on Drugs and Development Policies (BBF). The Forum is a conference designed to promote international exchange and coordination. What is discussed there? How can it help support human-centred, sustainable drug policies?

At the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), decisions are taken that point the way forward in international drug policy. To propose cross-national positions focusing on development, public health and respect for human rights, prior exchange and consensus-building is required. In recent years, the Brandenburg Forum on Drugs and Development Policies (BBF) has established itself as a crucial platform that successfully promotes international dialogue on drug policies.

 

Since 2016, representatives of interested states, international organisations, civil society and the academic community have been meeting every February – just weeks before the CND meeting – in Brandenburg. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD) is thus creating a space in which to hold constructive debates and build a shared understanding. Co-organisers are the Federal German Drug Commissioner, the Government of the Netherlands, the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and the Transnational Institute (TNI).

Over the past few years, the focus of the BBF has shifted and it has become more closely integrated into international drug policy. The Forum was originally designed as a one-off format to support states in implementing the resolutions adopted at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS 2016) on the World Drug Problem in 2016. The BBF has now become a reputed conference on global drug policy.

 

Debate at the BBF leads to new insight and joint views that are important particularly for the annual CND meeting. The Forum participants strengthen existing partnerships, forging alliances across nations and institutions. Consolidated at the BBF, this international cooperation continues in the CND, where a broad, steadily growing alliance of various countries advocates a humane and sustainably effective drug policy. By holding the Brandenburg Forum, the GPDPD is making a key contribution in this context.